The mark “ Arigato” (corresponding to “ thank you” in English) in class 45 has been registered in Japan as a wordmark.
Japanese trademark law provides that marks by which consumers are unable to recognize the marked goods or services as those pertaining to a business of a particular person are unregistrable.
The mark “ ” (pronounced as Arigato) was rejected in the examination stage. The examiner asserted that the word “ ” is used to express gratitude and that the word is formula in businesses and services. Thus, consumers and traders recognize only that service providers express their thanks to service consumers, even if “ ” is used on their services.
The applicant appealed the rejection. The three appeal examiners judged that it is difficult to say that the trademark “ ” does not have distinctive characteristics and that it can be a catchphrase and/or shows contents and the like of their services directly or specifically, even if “ ” is used for expressing gratitude and is recognized as such a greeting.
In addition, the appeal examiners did not find that the trademark “ ” has been used commercially as a catchphrase and/or to show contents and the like of services in the field of its designated services in common, according to ex officio searches.
Thus, the trademark “ ” can fulfill the requirement of distinctive character with regard to its designated services. It is difficult to say that consumers are unable to recognize the services as those pertaining to a business of a particular person.