October 29, 2014

Trademark confusion

This post was written by: Amarjit Atwal


Trademark confusion

When registering trademarks, creators will want to trademark a catchy brand name, and create something that will draw in customers and be associated solely with their product. However, with the vast amount of products and services available to the public, it is often quite hard to find something that is unique. It is important not to choose names that sound too similar to other names, or else consumers may become confused about the two names and their products or services.

In the recent case of Laboratoires Polive v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (Case T-77/13) the General Court held that two trademarks that consisted of one word each, with three matching letters – DODIE and DODOT – were not similar enough to potentially confuse the public.

While Dodie was a name for a baby toiletries brand in France, Dodot was a name for a wider range of baby products, ranging from prams to baby brushes, in Spain. The Court held that both trademarks were not visually similar, as neither the ‘ie’ for Dodie or the ‘ot’ for Dodot are common in Spanish. The rhythm of pronunciation of the two names are also different, and thus it is unlikely that the French or Spanish public would be confused between the two brands.

This judgment shows that it is not merely enough to have a similar or same prefix to two names to create a similarity. Even if two brand names have the same prefix, courts will assess the nature of the products or services offered by the brands, the ease of pronunciation in the respective countries, and the way in which the words are pronounced.

For all your business needs, contact Aston Bond solicitors today on 01753 486 777 or by coming to our offices at Windsor Crown House, 7 Windsor Road, Slough, SL1 2DX.


Amarjit Atwal, Trainee Solicitor