The JPO appeal examiners concluded that “gb (stylized)” is dissimilar to “gb and device”
Japanese trademark law provides that if a mark is identical/similar to another person’s registered trademark that has been filed prior to the filing date of an application for registration of the mark, and if the designated goods/services of the registered trademark are identical/similar to the designated goods/services of the mark, the mark shall not be registered.
The appeal examiners considered that the subject trademark is composed of closely-aligned, stylized letters of “g” and ”b”, is a kind of logo, is pronounced as “[jee][bee]”, and does not have any specific meaning.
Meanwhile, the cited trademark is composed of letters “g” and “b” and a solid heart shape. The letters and the shape are not characteristic, integrally aligned equally-spaced intervals. That is, the heart shape is not indicated in a small/supplemental manner or separately from the letters, or aligned at the end of many letters. The heart shape is aligned at an equal interval after the only two letters, in substantially the same size as the letters. In addition, heart shapes are often pronounced as not only “[hahrt]” but also “[luhv]” along with the letters these days. Under the circumstances, the cited trademark is pronounced as “[jee][bee][hahrt]” or “[jee][bee][luhv]”. It is possible to pronounce these pronunciations at a breath in a natural manner. Thus, it is difficult to say that the letter portion is dominant. It is unreasonable to focus on the portion to consider similarities between the cited trademark and third parties’ trademarks. In view of this, the cited trademark is pronounced as “[jee][bee]”, “[jee][bee][hahrt]” and/or “[jee][bee][luhv]”, does not have any specific meaning as a whole, though the heart portion has a concept of “heart”.
As to appearance, both trademarks are clearly distinguishable for the clear differences.
As to sound, the subject trademark is pronounced as only “[jee][bee]”. The cited trademark is pronounced as “[jee][bee]”, “[jee][bee][hahrt]” and/or “[jee][bee][luhv]”. Thus, though the pronunciation “[jee][bee]” may be overlapping, the remaining pronunciations of the subject trademark are clearly different from the pronunciation of the cited trademark for the number of syllables and the formation of syllables.
As to concept, both trademarks do not have any specific meanings as a whole. Thus, it is impossible to compare the trademarks. However, the cited trademark may have a concept of “heart”. Therefore, it is difficult to say that both trademarks are similar in relation to the concept of “heart”.
Under the circumstances, the appeal examiners concluded that and are dissimilar since there is no likelihood of confusion.