Appeal decision report (Nakagishi)
March 19, 2021
|Appeal number||Invalidation 2018-890088（JP Reg. No. 5989695）|
|Case summary||The appeal board found that the trademark consisting of Latin characters “Nakagishi” is not invalid because it does not correspond to a common surname.|
|Date of decision||June 15, 2020|
Shenzhen Haowei Electronic Commerce Co., Ltd.
SUGIYAMA SPINNING AND WEAVING, Inc.
|Designated goods and Class(es)||
Electric lamps and other lighting apparatus, (the rest is omitted) in class 11
The subject trademark consists of “Nakagishi” in standard characters. According to the evidence submitted by the claimant (“Japanese surname etymological dictionary”), the number of “Nakagishi” surnames in Chinese characters meaning “middle bank” is about 600 nationwide, ranking 11,409, and the number of “Nakagishi” surnames in Chinese characters meaning “relationship bank” nationwide is about 40 people.
Given the above, “Nakagishi” is not immediately recognized as a surname. Therefore, the subject trademark does not consist merely of a common surname.
A common surname means that there are many people of the same surname, and are judged to lack the discriminating power of their own and other products. However, it is not always clear what number of people corresponds to “many.”
In this case, it was determined that the total number of 640 people who have the surname corresponding to “Nakagishi” were not “many.”
“Nakagishi” can also be regarded as a kind of coined word that has a meaning such as “central shore.” Considering these points comprehensively, it seems judged that it is difficult to immediately recognize it as a surname.