Japan Patent Office Decides “TE’ CON MIEL” (Tea With Honey) Is Distinctive In Relation To Tea 20/02/2018 by Guest contributor for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a 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. By Masaki Mikami In a recent trademark opposition, the Opposition Board of the Japan Patent Office (JPO) decided to overrule the opposition against TM Registration no. 5951823 for word mark “TÉ CON MIEL” designating tea in class 30 due to distinctiveness of the mark among relevant Japanese consumers. [Opposition case no. 2017-900259, Gazette issued date: January 26,2018] The opposed mark consists of the term “TE’ CON MIEL” and its transliteration written in Japanese character (Katakana) as shown below. The opponent argued the mark shall be objectionable based on Article 3(1)(iii) and 4(1)(xiv) of the Trademark Law because of descriptive meaning in relation to tea. Each Spanish word of the mark means ‘tea’ for “TE”, ‘with’ for “CON”, ‘honey’ for “MIEL” respectively. It is obvious that opposed mark gives rise to a meaning of ‘TEA WITH HONEY’ in English as a whole. Article 3(1)(iii) of the Trademark Law prohibits any mark from registering if the mark solely consists of elements just to indicate, in a common manner, the place of origin, place of sale, quality, raw materials, efficacy, intended purpose, quantity, shape (including shape of packages), price, the method or time of production or use. The opponent relied on the article on the assumption that the opposed mark just indicates quality or ingredient of designated goods and lacks distinctiveness in relation to ‘tea with honey’ which is undoubtedly included in the designation of tea. Article 4(1)(xiv) is a provision to prohibit any mark from registering if the mark is likely to mislead as to the quality of goods or service. The opponent relied on the article presuming that relevant consumers misconceive the quality of a tea when the opposed mark is used on tea other than honey tea. In order to bolster the argument, the opponent produced evidential materials showing tea bags imported from Spain. However, the Opposition Board, by taking into consideration the produced evidences and relevant facts, held as follows. Each term of “TE”, “CON” and “MIEL” is not familiar among relevant Japanese consumers with an ordinary care. Besides, there exists no circumstance to find a whole term of “TE’ CON MIEL” gets to be known for its descriptive meaning. If so, relevant consumers consider the opposed mark as a distinctive source indicator. A fact that “TE’ CON MIEL” is used on honey tea as a generic term in Spain and other Spanish native countries does not immediately negate a distinctive perception toward opposed mark among relevant Japanese consumers Obviously, produced evidences are insufficient to disclose a certain degree of perception as an indication of ‘honey tea’ in Japan. Based on the foregoing, the Board concluded the opposed mark shall not be objectionable under Article 3(1)(iii) and 4(1)(xiv) and dismissed the opposition. 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."Japan Patent Office Decides “TE’ CON MIEL” (Tea With Honey) Is Distinctive In Relation To Tea" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.