|OUR CLIENT’S MARK||OPPONENT’S MARK|
TOKYO – On 24 March 2017, we filed a trademark application for registration on behalf of our client, I.J. Tobacco Industry FZE, for IJTI – I. J. TOBACCO INDUSTRY in Japan in class 34. The application was assigned number 2017-040241 and then registered under number 5985527 on 6 October 2017.
According to the trademark practice in Japan for smooth application processing, after a trademark application is filed, it gets examined, registered and then published in the Official Gazette where any interested parties can either a) file an opposition to the decision to register the trademark or b) file a cancellation action against the registered trademark. Both actions are filed with the Commissioner of the Japan Patent Office (JPO).
Accordingly, Japan Tobacco Inc. (the plaintiff) filed an opposition against our client’s registration under the basis of similarity with their registered trademark JTI in Japan number 4486587.
The JPO reviewed the opposition statement and declined the request for lack of alleged similarity, so the plaintiff filed a cancellation action against IJTI, but again, the JPO reviewed the request of the cancellation and decided to maintain its previous decision based on the following:
- Lack of definite similarity between both marks in terms of pronunciation or general appearance;
- The plaintiffs’ mark “JTI” trademark is not a well-known mark;
- JTI is not used in commerce, and
- No possibility of confusion among consumers between the marks.
Finally, the JPO issued its final decision to maintain the registration of our client’s mark number 5985527.
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