Starbucks Trademark Dispute Brewing Over Bull Pulu Tapioca Logo 18/12/2017 by Guest contributor for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors. The Japan Patent Office (JPO) has rejected an opposition from Starbucks to trademark registration no. 5897739 for the green-and white “BULL PULU TAPIOCA” concentric circle logo with a puppy white bull dog in the center. [ref. Opposition case no. 2017-900048] Opposed mark (see below) designating goods of tapioca beverages, tapioca fruit juice beverages in class 32 and retail or wholesale services for tapioca beverages, tapioca fruit juice beverages in class 35 was applied for registration on May 10, 2016 by a Japanese individual. As a result of substantive examination, JPO granted a registration on October 28, 2016. Subsequently, Starbucks Incorporated, a US coffee chain, filed an opposition based on a conflict with famous Starbucks trademarks. In the opposition, Starbucks alleged violation of Article 4(1)(vii), (xi) and (xv) of the Japan Trademark Law. Article 4(1)(vii) prohibits any mark likely to offend public order and morals from registering. Article 4(1)(xi) is a provision to refrain from registering a junior mark which is deemed identical with, or similar to, any senior registered mark. Article 4(1)(xv) excludes a junior mark which is likely to cause confusion with goods or services belonging to another business entity. The Opposition Board of JPO admitted a high degree of reputation and popularity to the iconic Starbucks logo among relevant consumers at the time of initial filing and registration of the opposed mark. In the meantime, the Board found that both marks are dissimilar due to a distinctive difference in literal elements and design depicted in the center. Besides, by taking account of severe dissimilarity of both marks, the Board denied a likelihood of confusion between the marks as well. To bolster the public disorder allegation, Starbucks revealed the facts that applicant of the opposed mark was a former CEO of J.J. Co., Ltd., a tapioca drink parlor, and Opposed mark has been used on shop signs and cups for drink managed by J.J. Co., Ltd. in fact (see below). The Board held that such facts are insufficient to conclude Opposed mark may offend public order and morals if registered. Accordingly, JPO rejected an opposition challenged by Starbucks. Masaki Mikami is a qualified IP attorney in Japan since 2003. Masaki has fourteen years of legal experience in the area of trademark law. Before that, he has global marketing experience for a decade. Masaki Mikami’s blog http://blog.marks-iplaw.jp/ Image Credits: Masaki Mikami Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Guest contributor may be reached at email@example.com."Starbucks Trademark Dispute Brewing Over Bull Pulu Tapioca Logo" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.