The JPO appeal examiners concluded that ITI is dissimilar to iti (stylized), Hiragana and Katakana characters
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 standard characters “ITI” and that the wording “ITI” does not have any specific meaning, is unfamiliar and a coined word. Thus, the subject trademark ITI should be pronounced as “I” “T” “I” without any specific concepts.
Meanwhile, the cited trademark consists of Hiragana characters in the upper line and Katakana characters in the lower line and solid, black circle-like shapes placed on both sides of the characters and three solid, black geometric-like shapes. As to the shapes, the original examiner recognized the shapes as Latin alphabetic characters “iti” easily, though the Latin alphabetic characters were slightly stylized. On the other hand, the appeal examiners recognized that the shapes were too stylized to understand what the shapes stand for. In view of this, it is reasonable to say that the shapes of the cited trademark do not have any particular sounds and concepts and that the cited trademark has sounds and concepts corresponding to Hiragana and the Katakana portions individually.
Under the circumstances, the appeal examiners concluded that ITI and are dissimilar.