1. As specified below, the mark in question consists of the letter “I” and a heart shape placed horizontally side by side (hereinafter referred to as “I + Heart Shape”), with the letters “JAPAN” written underneath, and is easily understood to have the meaning of “I love Japan”.
In Japan, an indication that is a combination of the I + Heart Shape and a “geographical name” written on the side or underneath is used as an indication to show the feeling of love towards the place indicated by said geographical name that is combined with the I + Heart Shape, or as an indication of souvenirs from the place indicated by said geographical name for attracting the attention of customers. Also, it is acknowledged that an indication that is a combination of the I + Heart Shape and the letters JAPAN written on the side or underneath is used as an indication that shows a feeling of support for Japan or for that which belongs to Japan, such as a Japanese national team or the like, by a business operator who is engaged in the clothing business, who deals in stickers, or the like.
As such, if the mark in question is used for its designated goods in Class 14 (key rings, personal ornaments, watches, etc.), Class 16 (stationary, printed matter, photographs, etc.), Class 18 (bags, wallets, etc.), and Class 24 (towels, handkerchiefs, etc.), it is acknowledged that traders and consumers would merely recognize the same as an indication showing the feeling of love of Japan or the feeling of support toward that which belongs to Japan, or as an indication for souvenirs from Japan.
Therefore, since the mark in question is one which cannot be recognized by consumers as pertaining to any specific person’s business, it falls under Article 3, Paragraph 1, Item 6 of the Trademark Act.
1. Regarding the summary of Judgment 1, the Court considered the mark in question to fall under Article 3, Paragraph 1, Item 6 of the Trademark Act under the circumstances where the following trademarks (i) to (iii) which are of the same type as the mark in question are registered, and with regard to said circumstances, the Court found that “whether or not an applied mark falls under Article 3, Paragraph 1, Item 6 should be considered and determined on a case-by-case basis; therefore, it cannot be acknowledged, based on the fact that the trademarks of the above (i) to (iii) are registered, that the mark in question has distinctiveness for indicating the source.”
|Registration No.||Registered Mark||Designated Goods/Service|
||Class 25 Clothing; Garters; Sock suspenders; Suspenders; Waistbands; Belts for clothing; Footwear [other than special footwear for sports]; Masquerade costumes; Clothes for sports [other than clothes for water sports]; Special footwear for sports|
|Class 30 Confectionery; Brad and buns; Sandwiches; Steamed buns stuffed with minced meat [Chinese-manjuh]; Hamburgers; Pizzas; Hot dogs; Meat pies; Seasonings; spices; Ice cream mixes; Sherbet mixes; Chocolate spread; Edible dried herbs; Chinese stuffed dumplings [Gyoza]; Chinese steamed dumplings [Shumai]; Sushi, fried balls of batter mix with small pieces of octopus [Takoyaki]; Box lunch; Ravioli; Instant confectionery|
|(iii)||6159203||Class 35 Advertising and publicity services; Promoting the goods and services of others through the issuance of trading stamps; Business management analysis or business consultancy; Marketing research or analysis; Providing information concerning commercial sales; Business management of hotels; Import-export agencies; Telemarketing services; Sales promotion for others|
【Keywords】Article 3, Paragraph 1, Item 6 of the Trademark Act, distinctiveness
※ The contents of this article are intended to convey general information only and not to provide any legal advice.
Kei IIDA (Writer)
Attorney at Law & Patent Attorney (Daini Tokyo Bar Association)
Contact information for inquiries: email@example.com