Bulgarian PTO Rules in Favor of Serbian Chips Producer in Trademark Opposition Case against Macedonian Competitor
On May 31, 2012, Marbo Product, Serbian chips producer active in the Balkan region and holder of many trademark registrations consisting of the common word element CHiPSY, filed an opposition at the Bulgarian PTO against the registration of IR 1082927 CHIPSíY KING, word mark only, in IC 29 (meats and processed foods), filed by the Macedonian chips producer MDZ ROBIN.
PETOŠEVIĆ Bulgaria represented Marbo Product, whose earlier marks are in IC 29 as well as 30 (staple foods).
On February 7, 2013, the Bulgarian PTO, pursuant to Article 38, Paragraph 10 of the Bulgarian Law on Marks and Geographical Indications (LMGI), issued a decision for a full refusal to register the CHIPSíY KING word mark in Bulgaria for all goods applied for in IC 29.
The PTO ruled that the similarity of the goods and trademarks gives rise to a likelihood of confusion among the relevant public, including a likelihood of association with the opponentís earlier marks.
The PTO ruled that the contested IR and the earlier marks are visually similar, i.e. they create a similar overall visual impression. Namely, CHiPSY and the first word of the opposed mark CHIPSíY KING are similar to a high degree.
Moreover, the disputed marks concern IC 29 and 30 where the attention by the relevant consumer is relatively low since the consumers do not make a preliminary search before buying such goods.
Furthermore, the opponent owns a family of marks with the common distinctive component CHiPSY. When there is a family of marks, the common component acquires a high degree of distinctiveness due to its repeated appearance in the composition of the marks of the family.
Therefore, the PTO concluded that the consumer may be misled about the source of the goods bearing the mark CHIPSíY and may be led to believe that these marks originate from the same undertaking or from economically linked undertakings.
The decision can be appealed pursuant to Article 42, Paragraph 1, item 3 of the LMGI, before the PTOís Opposition Division, within three months following the notification thereof.
By: Valeri Penev
For more information, please contact Valeri Penev at our Bulgaria office.
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