Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.
WEDNESDAY, 4 JULY 2012
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.
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