ZARA vs AZRA

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) dismissed an opposition filed by Industria de Diseño Textil, SA (INDITEX), owner of the fashion brand “ZARA”, against trademark registration no. 6638156 for word mark “AZRA” in classes 11, 20, 21, 24 and 27 by finding dissimilarity to and less likelihood of confusion with “ZARA”.

[Opposition case no. 2023-900013, decided on September 1, 2023]

Opposed mark

Opposed mark, consisting of a wordmark “AZRA” in standard character, was applied for registration in the name of STREAK Co., Ltd., a Japanese company offering bedding, pillows, pillow covers, cushions [furniture], mattresses, curtains and sleeping pads, on August 9, 2022, by designating various goods in classes 11, 20, 21, 24 and 27, and published for post-grant opposition on November 16, 2022, without confronting with office action from the JPO.

Screen capture from Rakuten

Opposition by Inditex

Opponent, INDITEX, one of the world’s largest fashion retailers and owner of the fashion brand “ZARA”, filed an opposition on January 14, 2023 before the lapse of a two-month statutory period and claimed opposed mark “AZRA” shall be cancelled in contravention of Article 4(1)(xi), (xv) and (xix) of the Japan Trademark Law by citing earlier trademark registrations for word mark “ZARA”.

Article 4(1)(xi) is a provision to prohibit from registering a junior mark that is deemed identical with, or similar to, any senior registered mark.

INDITEX argued “AZRA” is similar to its own trademark “ZARA”, a worldwide famous fast-fashion brand, from visual, phonetic and conceptual points of view. Besides, the goods in question are identical.

Article 4(1)(xv) prohibits registering a trademark which is likely to cause confusion with the business of other entities.

INDITEX argued that “ZARA” has acquired a remarkable reputation among relevant consumers and the close resemblance between the marks and goods, and thus relevant consumers are likely to confuse or misconceive the goods bearing the opposed mark “AZRA” with “ZARA”.

Article 4(1)(xix) prohibits registering a trademark that is identical with, or similar to, other entity’s famous mark, if such trademark is aimed for unfair purposes, e.g. gaining unfair profits, or causing damage to the entity.

INDITEX argued the applicant must have filed the opposed mark aiming to gain unfair profits by the free-riding opponent famous trademark “ZARA”.


JPO decision

To my surprise, the JPO Opposition Board had a view that “ZARA” has not acquired a high degree of reputation and popularity among general consumers even though widely recognized among fashion conscious consumers by taking into consideration the produced evidence. The Board pointed a high number of followers on Facebook (31millions), Instagram (57millions) by itself would be insufficient and irrelevant to demonstrate a high degree of recognition among general consumers of the goods in question.

Besides, the Board found “AZRA” and “ZARA” are obviously dissimilar in appearance and pronunciation by stating that difference on the first and second letter and sound would be sufficiently distinguishable given both marks visually consist of four alphabets and aurally just two or three sounds. As for the concept, it is incomparable since either mark does not give rise to any specific meaning. Therefore, both marks are unlikely to cause confusion due to dissimilarity between the marks.

Since no evidence was shown by Inditex to support that the applicant filed the opposed mark for unfair purposes or causing damage to the opponent.

Based on the foregoing, the JPO dismissed the entire allegations of INDITEX and allowed “AZRA” to survive.

McDonald Unsuccessful in Trademark Opposition against “mac”

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) did not side with McDonald in opposition against Japanese TM Reg no. 6575774 for stylized wordmark “mac” in class 35 due to dissimilarity to “Mc” and unlikelihood of confusion with McDonald.

[Opposition case no. 2022-900294, decided on August 15, 2023]

Opposed mark “mac”

The opposed mark, consisting of a stylized word “mac” (see below), was filed by Daiya Group Inc. for use on retail services or wholesale services for various goods including, meat, milk, carbonated drinks [refreshing beverages] and non-alcoholic fruit juice beverages, tea, coffee and cocoa in class 35 with the JPO on October 27, 2021.

The applicant has used the opposed mark as a tradename of their drug store “mac”.

Screen capture from Google map

The JPO granted protection of the opposed mark on June 22, 2022 and published it for post-grant opposition on June 30, 2022.


Opposition by McDonald

McDonald International Property Company Limited filed an opposition against the opposed mark on July 20, 2022 with the JPO and claimed cancellation of the opposed mark in contravention of Article 4(1)(x), (xi) and (xv) of the Japan Trademark Law based on earlier trademark registrations and various marks used in relation to their business.

McDonald argued that the mark “Mc” has been remarkably famous as a source indicator of the opponent and it gives rise to a same sound with the opposed mark “mac”. If so, relevant consumers would confuse the source of retail services or wholesale services for meat, milk, carbonated drinks [refreshing beverages] and non-alcoholic fruit juice beverages, tea, coffee and cocoa bearing the opposed mark with McDonald due to close resemblance of the marks and relatedness to food business.


JPO decision

The Opposition Board pointed out McDonald has been regularly using the mark “Mc” in a tight combination with other word. Regardless of the fact that consumers are accustomed to call McDonald as “MAC”, there is no evidence to show the opponent has used “MAC” in connection with their business.

By taking account of insufficient evidence to demonstrate substantial recognition of the cited marks, the Board has no reason to admit famousness of the mark “Mc” as a source indicator of McDonald.

In assessing the similarity of mark, the Board found the cited marks are aurally dissimilar to the opposed mark since they are pronounced as “emˈsiː” or “mækˈkæfˈeɪ” in its entirety. Besides, there is no ground to find visual and conceptual similarity of respective mark. If so, the Board believes the opposed mark is clearly dissimilar to the cited marks.

To the extent that there is insufficient evidence to support how the term “MAC” has played a significant role in indicating the source of McDonald, the Board held it unlikely that relevant consumers confuse the opposed mark with McDonald when used on the services in question.

Based on the foregoing, the Board dismissed the opposition entirely and decided that the opposed mark “mac” shall remain valid as the status quo.

Trademark Dispute: Louis Vuitton vs Rui vuit

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) didn’t side with LOUIS VUITTON MALLETIER in an opposition against TM Reg no. 6595438 for wordmark “Rui vuit” in class 25 due to dissimilarity to the “LOUIS VUITTON” mark.

[Opposition case no. 2022-900422, decided on August 14, 2023]

Rui vuit

Opposed mark, consisting of a word “Rui vuit” in standard character, was sought for registration by a Chinese citizen for use on clothing and sports shoes (cl.25) with the JPO on December 24, 2021.

The JPO examiner did not raise any refusal and granted protection of the mark on July 12, 2023. Subsequently, it was published for a post-grant opposition on August 10 ,2022.


Opposition by Louis Vuitton

On October 7, 2022, LOUIS VUITTON MALLETIER filed an opposition with the JPO and claimed that the opposed mark shall be cancelled in contravention of Article 4(1)(xi) and (xv) of the Japan Trademark Law by citing earlier TM registrations for wordmark “LOUIS VUITTON” in classes 9, 14, 18, 24, 25, 35.

Article 4(1)(xi) is a provision to prohibit the registration of a junior mark that is identical with, or similar to, any senior registered mark.

Article 4(1)(xv) provides that a mark shall not be registered where it is likely to cause confusion with other business entities’ well-known goods or services.

Louis Vuitton argued the opposed mark “Rui Vuit” shall be confusingly similar to “LOUIS VUITTON” especially in sound. A mere difference of sound “n” in the suffix would be trivial and give a similar impression as a whole to the extent that consumers are unable to sufficiently distinguish.


JPO Decision

The JPO Opposition Board denied similarity between “Rui vuit” and “LOUIS VUITTON” by stating:

There is no doubt that both marks are visually distinguishable because respective mark represents a different word with different spellings.

Aurally, even if both sounds share the two initial sounds “lü-ˈē”, the overall sounds are easily distinguishable by virtue of difference in an “n” sound at the end.

Conceptually, the opposed mark does not have a specific conception. In the meantime, the cited mark gives rise to a meaning of famous fashion brand “Louis Vuitton”. If so, there is no similarity in concept.

Therefore, the Board has a reason to find a low degree of similarity between two marks, and even when used on the same or similar goods, there is no risk of confusion due to the dissimilarity of the marks.

Based on the foregoing, the Board dismissed the entire allegations and decided the validity of the opposed mark as the status quo.

Shangri-La Unsuccessful in Trademark Opposition Over “Shangri-La Golf”

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) dismissed an opposition claimed by Shangri-La Hotels against TM Reg no. 6610570 for the mark “Shangri-La-Golf” in class 35 due to dissimilarity between “Shangri-La” and “Shangri-La-Golf”.

[Opposition case no. 2022-900465, decided on July 26, 2023]

Opposed mark

A Japanese individual filed a stylized word mark “Shangri-La-Golf” (see below) for use on retail and wholesale services in relation to woven fabrics, beddings, clothing, footwear, and personal articles in class 35 with the JPO on June 22, 2020.

The JPO examiner rejected the mark in contravention of Article 4(1)(xi) of the Japan Trademark Law by citing earlier trademark registrations for wordmark “SHANGRI-LA”.

However, as a result of the JPO Appeal Board’s decision that found dissimilar to “SHANGRI-LA”, the mark could be registered on September 6, 2022.


Opposition by Shangri-La Hotels

Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd filed an opposition against the opposed mark on November 11, 2022 and argued the opposed mark shall be canceled in contravention of Article 4(1)(vii), (viii), (x), (xi), (xv), and (xix) of the Japan Trademark Law due to a remarkable degree of recognition of the cited mark “Shangri-La” and close resemblance between the opposed mark and “Shangri-La”.


JPO decision

The JPO Opposition Board questioned a remarkable degree of recognition of the cited mark among relevant public in Japan by stating that the produced evidence is insufficient to find such recognition objectively.

As for appearance, sound and meaning of the opposed mark, the Board found

“The opposed mark consists of “Shangri”, “La”, and “Golf” written in the same font and size, and tightly united by a hyphen (-). Visually, there is no reason to find respective element perse independently plays a role in source indicator of the opposed mark. Besides, the sound arising from the opposed mark as a whole can be pronounced easily.

Even if the term “Golf” has the meaning of a kind of ball game, it is reasonable to find that the term would not be recognized as directly indicating a descriptive meaning or specific quality of the services in question. Relevant consumers would see the opposed mark as a whole.

Therefore, the opposed mark shall be assessed in its entirety and give rise to a pronunciation of “Shangri-La-Golf” and no specific meaning.”

Based on the above finding, the Board decided the opposed mark “Shangri-La-Golf” is dissimilar to the cited mark “Shanri-La” because there is visual and phonetical distinction between the marks by virtue of the term “Golf” and the opposed mark does not give rise to a meaning related to ‘a remote usually idyllic hideaway’.

Accordingly, the Board found the opposition baseless and decided the opposed mark remains as the status quo.

HERMES Victory in trademark dispute against HAIRMES

On July 26, 2023, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) sided with Hermes International in an invalidation trial against TM Reg no. 6275593 for the wordmark “HAIRMES” by finding the owner’s unjustified intention to free-ride and dilute the famous fashion brand “HERMES” and cause confusion.

[Invalidation case no. 2022-890082]

Disputed mark

Dog Diggin Designs, LLC applied a wordmark “HAIRMES” in standard character for use on beds for household pets; pillows for pets; pet cushions in class 20, and toys for pets in class 28 with the JPO on October 16, 2019. Apparently, the company promotes parody dog toys & dog beds, and other pet supplies.

https://www.dogdiggindesigns.com/

Hermes International filed a post-grant opposition against the disputed mark with the JPO on October 15, 2020, and argued the disputed mark shall be canceled in contravention of Article 4(1)(x), (xi), (xv), and (xix) of the Trademark Law because of the remarkable reputation and popularity of the HERMES brand in the fashion industry and a high degree of similarity between “HAIRMES” and “HERMES” likely to cause confusion among relevant consumers in Japan.

The JPO Opposition Board decided to dismiss the opposition by finding unlikelihood of confusion due to a low degree of similarity between the marks. Click here.


Invalidation action by Hermes

Hermes International filed an invalidation action with the JPO based on the same grounds on October 18, 2022, and repeatedly argued the owner must have had an intention to imitate and free-ride on reputation and goodwill of the famous fashion brand “HERMES” by making use of similar trade dress with Hermes packaging color and design in addition to similar HAIRMES mark.


JPO decision

The JPO Invalidation Board admitted that “HERMES” has been widely recognized as a luxury fashion brand and source indicator of Hermes International.

In the assessment of similarity of mark, the Board found both marks are dissimilar in sound and concept. However, these marks give a similar visual impression by sharing the first letter “H” and the four letter “RMES” in the latter half of respective word, which catches the attention of consumers. If so, the Board has a reason to believe there is a certain degree of similarity between the marks.

The Board paid attention to a fact that the owner promotes pet beds and pet toys bearing similar color and decoration to the iconic Hermes packaging. Based on the circumstances, the Board had a view that presumably the owner, knowing that the HERMES mark has been widely recognized among consumers in Japan, must have had an intention to free-ride or dilute reputation on HERMES.

Based on the foregoing, the Board found relevant consumers are likely to confuse the source of pet beds and toys bearing the disputed mark with Hermes International in view of close association with fashion items as well, and decided to invalidate the disputed mark entirely.

Chrysler Wins Japan Trademark Invalidation Trial over “Jeeper”

In a recent invalidation decision by the Japan Patent Office (JPO), Chrysler could finally achieve victory in a trademark dispute against “Jeeper”, regardless of their failed opposition in 2022.

[Invalidation case no. 2022-890064, decided on July 5, 2023]

Disputed mark

The wordmark “Jeeper” was filed by a Japanese individual for use on various hand tools in class 8 with the JPO on January 27, 2020 (TM App no. 2020-8907).

Since the JPO admitted registration of the mark on November 17, 2020, and published it for a post-grant opposition on December 8, 2020, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US) LLC filed an opposition on Jan 26, 2021.

In the opposition, FCA argued the mark shall be canceled in contravention of Article 4(1)(xi) and (xv) of the Trademark Law due to the remarkable reputation and popularity of “JEEP” as a source indicator of Chrysler vehicles and a high degree of similarity between the mark “Jeeper” and Chrysler “JEEP.”

Article 4(1)(xi) is a provision to refrain from registering a junior mark that is deemed identical with, or similar to, an earlier registered mark.

Article 4(1)(xv) provides that a mark shall not be registered where it is likely to cause confusion with other business entities’ well-known goods or services.

However, on April 6, 2022, the JPO Opposition Board dismissed the opposition by questioning the famousness of the “JEEP” mark among relevant consumers of hand tools and finding a low degree of similarity between the two marks (Opposition case no. 2021-900035).


Invalidation action by FCA US LLC

To contest the Opposition Board decision, FCA US LLC filed an invalidation action with the JPO on July 28, 2022, and repeatedly argued the mark “Jeeper” shall be invalid due to its similarity to and the likelihood of confusion with “JEEP” when used on the hand tools in class 8.

The applicant did neither file an answer nor respond to the invalidation claims at all.


JPO Decision

The JPO Trial Board admitted a high degree of reputation and recognition of the claimant’s trademark “JEEP” in connection with small 4WD cars. Besides, based on the facts that the JEEP mark has been used on T-shirts, backpacks, bags, mugs, lunch boxes, carabiners, key chains, spray bottles, containers, and cooler boxes, the Board found the JEEP mark has even become famous among consumers of goods other than automobiles.

Based on the above findings, the Board held that, by taking account of the famousness of the JEEP mark as a source indicator of the claimant’s small 4WD cars, the literal portion of “Jeep” shall play a prominent role in indicating the source of the disputed mark. If so, the disputed mark gives rise to the sound of “Jeep” and the meaning of “the claimant’s famous small 4WD cars” accordingly.

Bearing this in mind, the Board compared the prominent portion “Jeep” of the disputed mark with the claimant’s mark “JEEP” and found a close resemblance of both marks as a whole.

In assessing the likelihood of confusion, the Board held small 4WD cars are remotely associated with hand tools in class 8, however, the Board paid attention to the fact that camp items bearing the JEEP mark e.g., backpacks, mugs, carabiners, cooler boxes, etc., are closely associated with the goods in question.

Based on the foregoing, the Board found relevant consumers are likely to confuse a source of the goods in question bearing the disputed mark with the claimant and decided to invalidate the disputed mark based on Article 4(1)(xi) and (xv).

CASIO Successful in Registering 3D Shape of “G-SHOCK” Watch

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) disaffirmed the examiner’s rejection and granted protection to the 3D shape of the Casio “G-Shock” watch by finding acquired distinctiveness as a result of substantial use over the past four decades.

[Appeal case no. 20212-11052, Gazette issued date: June 30, 2023]

CASIO “G-SHOCK” Watch

On April 28, 2021, Casio Computer Co., Ltd. filed a trademark application for the 3D shape of the first-released G-Shock, the DW-5000 (see below) to be used on ‘watches’ in class 14 with the JPO (TM application no. 2021-52961).


Rejection by JPO Examiner

On April 11, 2022, the JPO examiner rejected the 3D mark based on Article 3(1)(iii) of the Japan Trademark Law.

In the rejection, taking into consideration various decorations or patterns on the belt and case of wristwatches by other watchmakers (see below), the examiner considered the 3D shape of the applied mark lacks distinctiveness as a source indicator of wristwatch because relevant consumers and traders would recognize it simply represents a common shape of wristwatch adopted to enhance aesthetic function and psychological effect on the goods in question.

The examiner negated the acquired distinctiveness of the 3D shape of “G-Shock”, the DW-5000 regardless of continuous use on Casio’s wristwatches for 40 years on the grounds that:

  1. On the goods, catalogs, and advertisements, wordmarks “CASIO” and “G-SHOCK” have been constantly used as well.
  2. The “G-Shock” wristwatch collection has a lot of models that have a different appearance from the applied 3D shape.
  3. The market research that targeted a total of 1,100 men and women aged over 16 resulted in 55.52% of the interviewees answering “Casio” or “G-Shock” to an open-ended question when shown the 3D shape of the DW-5000. The percentage is insufficient to admit the 3D shape per se has acquired distinctiveness as a source indicator.
A screen shot from casio.com

On July 15, 2022, Casio filed an appeal against the rejection and disputed the acquired distinctiveness.


JPO Appeal Board decision

The Appeal Board affirmed the examiner’s finding in applying Article 3(1)(iii) of the Trademark Law.

In the meantime, the Board paid attention to the fact 66.27% of the interviewees selected “Casio” or “G-Shock” to a closed-ended question, where it mentions G-Shock along with other close competitors.

Provided that more than 60% of consumers associate the 3D shape with Casio or G-Shock, and the shape has the reputation as a representative model of the G-Shock with its unique shock-resistance form, the Board has a reason to believe the 3D shape per se has acquired a substantial degree of recognition among relevant consumers and played a role in source indicator of Casio’s wristwatches. If so, the examiner errored in applying Article 3(2) of the Trademark Law.

Based on the foregoing, the Board decided to cancel the examiner’s rejection and admitted registration of the applied mark exceptionally based on Article 3(2).

VOLVO Fails Trademark Opposition against VOLVOX

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) dismissed a trademark opposition filed by Volvo Trademark Holding AB against TM Reg no. 6602236 for the mark “VOLVOX” due to the dissimilarity of the mark and unlikelihood of confusion with “VOLVO”.

[Opposition case no. 2022-900449, Gazette issued date: June 30, 2023]

Opposed mark

The opposed mark (see below) was filed in the name of VOLVOX Co., Ltd. for use on advertising and publicity services in class 35 with JPO on March 4, 2022.

The JPO granted protection of the opposed mark on August 8, 2022, and published it for post-grant opposition on August 25, 2022.


Opposition by VOLVO

Volvo Trademark Holding AB filed an opposition against the opposed mark on October 25, 2022, before the lapse of a two-month statutory period counting from the publication date and claimed the opposed mark shall be canceled in contravention of Article 4(1)(x), (xi) and (xv) of the Japan Trademark Law by citing earlier TM Reg no. 4729933 for wordmark “VOLVO” in standard character covering advertising and publicity services in class 35 and others.

VOLVO argued the literal element of the opposed mark “VOLVOX” is confusingly similar to “VOLVO” from visual, aural, and conceptual points of view by taking account of the remarkable reputation of “VOLVO” as a source indicator of VOLVO cars. If so, it is likely that relevant consumers confuse a source of the service in question bearing the opposed mark with the opponent.


JPO decision

The Board admitted that the “VOLVO” mark has acquired a substantial degree of reputation and popularity as a source indicator of VOLVO cars among relevant consumers.

However, the Board negated the similarity between “VOLVO” and “VOLVOX” by stating:

“The opposed mark gives rise to a sound of ‘vol-voks’ and a meaning of ‘freshwater green algae of the genus’. In the meantime, the cited mark has the sound of ‘Volvo’ and the meaning of ‘brand name of automobiles manufactured and sold by VOLVO’. The difference arising from the presence of the letter “X” and figurative elements would be anything but visually negligible. Likewise, both marks are aurally distinguishable due to the difference in the number of sounds and sound structure. Conceptually, there is no doubt to cause confusion because of clear distinction in respective meaning.”

By taking into consideration a lower degree of similarity between the marks, the Board found that relevant consumers are unlikely to associate and confuse the opposed mark with VOLVO even when used on services in question.

Based on the foregoing, the Board dismissed the opposition entirely and decided that the opposed mark “VOLVOX” shall remain valid as the status quo.

Audemars Piguet Unsuccessful Challenge of TM Registration for Iconic Shape of “ROYAL OAK” Timepiece

On June 8, 2023, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) dismissed an appeal filed by Audemars Piguet Holding SA, a Swiss luxury watchmaker, and affirmed the examiner’s rejection of TM App no. 2020-20319 for a device mark representing AP’s iconic “ROYAL OAK” watch collection by finding a lack of inherent and acquired distinctiveness. [Appeal case no. 2021-013234]


Audemars Piguet “ROYAL OAK” Watch Collection

On February 26, 2020, Audemars Piguet Holding SA (AP) filed a trademark application for the shape of the flagship watch collection “ROYAL OAK” (see below) to be used on ‘watches’ in class 14 with the Japan Patent Office (JPO) [TM application no. 2020-20319].

The mark consists of a dial with tapisserie pattern and hour markers, minute track, date window, an octagonal bezel with 8 hexagonal screws, case, crown, and a lug of the famed “ROYAL OAK” watch collections.

On July 1, 2021, the JPO examiner rejected the applied mark due to a lack of inherent distinctiveness based on Articles 3(1)(iii) of the Japan Trademark Law by stating that relevant consumers would simply recognize it as a generic shape of a wristwatch, not a specific source indication. Besides, from the produced evidence, the examiner did not find the shape per se has acquired nationwide recognition as a source indicator of AP’s watches.


Appeal against the examiner’s rejection by AP

AP filed an appeal against the rejection on October 1, 2021, and alleged inherent distinctiveness as well as acquired distinctiveness of the shape in relation to watches.

AP argued the shape shall be considered inherently distinctive by virtue of a combination of three unique features, namely, (i) an octagonal bezel, (ii) 8 hexagonal screws, and (iii) tapisserie pattern on the surface of a dial. It is inappropriate for the examiner to negate the distinctiveness of the applied mark based on similar watches by third parties that imitate “ROYAL OAK” collections.

Allegedly, “ROYAL OAK” luxury watches have been promoted for sale in Japan since 1972. Annual sales exceed JPY 8 billion on average in the past six years. Each year, AP spent more than JPY400 million on advertisement and promotion in Japan. As a result of the substantial use of the shape on famous AP watches over four decades, even if the shape inherently lacks distinctiveness, it has acquired a significant role as a source indication.


JPO Appeal Board decision

In the decision, the Board held “There are plenty of wristwatches placed in the marketplace by many watchmakers that have a similar shape to the dial, bezel, case, crown, and lug of the applied mark (see below examples). Therefore, the shape, even if it does not contain hands and strap, is unlikely to indicate the origin of goods and distinguish them from competitors”. If so, the examiner’s findings are adequate and the Board did not find any error in applying Article 3(1)(iii) of the Trademark Law on the case.

Besides, the Board questioned if the shape per se has played a role in the source indication of AP’s watches regardless of admitting the presence of “ROYAL OAK” watches in the market for long years on the following grounds.

  1. Number of official stores, 11 is by no means numerous.
  2. The evidence did not suggest any transaction of wristwatches using the applied mark (namely, a watch without strip and hands)
  3. AP did not submit objective evidence to support the sales of “ROYAL OAK” watches
  4. Since AP did not make clear the market share of “ROYAL OAK” watches, it is impossible to compare them with competitors’ watches.
  5. Publications and internet articles pertinent to the “ROYAL OAK” watches always features literal elements “ROYAL OAK”, “AP” or “AUDEMARS PIGUET”.
  6. AP did not produce a market survey to demonstrate how many consumers can identify a source of the wristwatch from the applied mark.

Based on the foregoing, the Board found the applied mark has not acquired a certain degree of recognition as a source indicator of a specific entity among relevant consumers in relation to watches under Article 3(2), and decided to refuse the shape of AP’s “ROYAL OAK” watches.