Airbus’s trademark “A380” (wordmark, in class 12) has been registered in Japan.
The Japanese examination guidelines for trademarks provides that trademarks by which consumers are unable to recognize the goods or services such as those pertaining to a business of a particular person are unregistrable.
The above-captioned trademark “A380″ was rejected in the examination stage. The examiner asserted that generally combinations of alphabetical and numeric characters are used broadly as codes or signs to show product stock numbers, model numbers, qualities and the like and that because the trademark consists of the words ”A380” in a common manner, consumers and traders would likely consider the trademark as such codes or signs. Thus, it is reasonable to say that the trademark consists solely of a very simple and common mark and that the trademark is unregistrable.
The applicant, Airbus Operations GmbH, filed an appeal of the rejection. The appeal examiners judged that the above-captioned trademark consists of the alphabetical character “A” and the numeric characters “380” in a common manner, thus the trademark consists solely of a very simple and common mark. However, the earlier registered trademark “A380” in a common manner, owned by the applicant, has acquired distinctiveness through use and the earlier registration has been in effect.
In addition, the appeal examiners confirmed that the aircraft named “A380” have attracted attention as the very first double-deck, wide-body airliner, have been delivered to world’s major airlines, and are operating at airports in the world, including Narita Tokyo Airport, through ex officio searches.
Under the circumstances, the appeal examiners concluded that the above-captioned trademark should be registered because the trademark has acquired distinctiveness and because consumers can recognize goods bearing the trademark as the applicant’s goods, though the trademark consists solely of a very simple and common mark.