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The Turkish tale of Wittmann and Littmann

The owner of the LITTMANN trade mark, which was registered for “surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus, instruments and furniture” in class 10, filed an opposition against an application to register the words WITTMANN PATCH in Turkey for similar goods.  The ground of opposition was that there was a likelihood of confusion, given the similarity of the respective marks.

The Turkish Patent Institute Trade Marks Directorate dismissed the opposition, citing the dissimilarity of the trade marks. The opponent then appealed to the Re-Examination and Evaluation Board of TPI.

Contrary to the narrow interpretation of Trade Mark Directorate on the issue of similarity, the Re-Examination Board decided that there was indeed a likelihood of confusion on the part of relevant public in terms of the “distinctive” elements of the LITTMANN and WITTMANN PATCH trade marks.

According to the Board, the word PATCH in the WITTMANN PATCH trade mark actually means “plaster”, which is a generic term and can not be accepted as a distinctive element in the WITTMANN PATCH application. The similarity examination should therefore be conducted between the words LITTMANN and WITTMANN. Having made this comparison it was apparent that the words WITTMANN and LITTMANN were both written in the same style and in capital letters. The fact that the words commenced with different letters was an insufficient basis on which to distinguish them.

There was accordingly a likelihood of confusion at the part of the average consumer between the trade marks in respect of the same or similar goods. 

Source: Selin Sinem Yalıncaklı (Mehmet Gun & Partners, Istanbul, Turkey)

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 08.31
Tags: Turkey, confusing similarity,
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