The JPO appeal examiners concluded that MiMC (stylized) is dissimilar to M.M.C (stylized)
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 consists of bilaterally symmetric chevron shapes with vertical lines on the extreme left and the center, a circle with its rightmost point missing on the extreme right, and a small dot. If the subject trademark is a logo consisting of Latin alphabetic characters as a whole, the chevron shapes with vertical lines may be considered Latin alphabetic character “M” and the circle on the extreme right may be considered “O” and/or “C”. In addition, a combination of the small dot and two vertical lines below the dot may be considered “i”.
Under the circumstances, it is reasonable to say that the features of appearance of would be dominantly recognized by spectators. However, even if the subject trademark is such a logo consisting of Latin alphabetic characters, it is difficult to identify the Latin alphabetic characters. The Latin alphabetic characters would be considered at least “MiMO”, ”MiMC”, ”MMO” and/or “MMC”. Thus, the subject trademark is pronounced as “M” “I” “M” “O”, ”M” “I” “M” ”C”, ”M” “M” “O” and/or “M” “M” “C”, without any specific concepts.
Meanwhile, the cited trademark consists of Latin alphabetic characters, “M” “M” “C” and dots bordered in black between “M” and “M”, and M” and “C” . The cited trademark is pronounced as “M” “M” “C” without any specific concepts.
As to appearance, both trademarks are clearly distinguishable for the clear differences.
As to concept, both trademarks do not have any specific meanings. Thus, there is no likelihood of confusion in concepts.
As to sound, the cited trademark is pronounced as “M” “M” “C”. In relation to the sounds of “M” “I” “M” “O” and ”M” “I” “M” ”C” of the subject trademark, both trademarks are dissimilar for the formation of sounds and the number of sounds. In relation to the sound of M” “M” “O” of the subject trademark, both trademarks are dissimilar for the clear difference of the ending sounds “C” and “O” in the short sounds. In relation to the sound of “M” “M” “C”, the subject trademark and the cited trademark have the same sound in common. However, in view of the other sounds of the subject trademark, the common sound does not affect the similarity substantially. The subject trademark is different from the cited trademark in appearance. The difference of appearance would be highly recognized by spectators. Further, there is no likelihood of confusion in concepts.
Under the circumstances, the appeal examiners concluded that the subject trademark and the cited trademark are dissimilar.