Guide: An appeal of refusal case of trademark application in Japanese Kana, having gone through the first and second instance, was finally judged by the Supreme People’s Court (hereinafter referred to as “SPC”) that the applied trademark was not similar to the cited trademark
Case Brief: A trademark application filed by a Japanese company in Japanese Kana was refused on the grounds of the cited trademark in English which was similar to the Romaji of the Japanese pronunciation of the Japanese Kana. Both the court of the first instance and second instance supported the decision of refusal made by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, and affirmed the establishment of similarity. Entrusted by the client, our firm appealed to the SPC by filing the request for retrial where we emphasized that the judgment of the similarity of the trademarks in foreign languages should base on the recognition of the relevant public in China. Given that the Chinese relevant public has limited capability in recognizing the Japanese Kana, let alone recognizing the Romaji of the Japanese pronunciation of the Japanese Kana, the trademark shall not be determined as similar to the cited trademark in English. The SPC made verdict to hear this case, and made the judgment of retrial on March 5th 2020 by supporting our retrial reasons and revoking the sued decision as well as the first and second instance judgment.