Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
30 January 2004
Hearing Officer
Mr M Reynolds
Steelco Limited
Steelcase Inc
Sections 5(2)(b) & 5(4)(a)


Section 5(2)(b) - Opposition failed

Section 5(4)(a) - Not considered

Points Of Interest

  • 1. The opponents appealed to the Appointed Person. In his decision dated 23 August 2004 (BL O/268/04) the Appointed Person upheld the Hearing Officer's decision and dismissed the appeal.


The opponents' opposition was based on their ownership of registrations in Classes 6 and 20 of the mark STEELCASE in respect of the same and similar goods as those of the applicants. They also filed details of significant use of their mark in relation to office furniture and the Hearing Officer was prepared to accept that they had some degree of enhanced reputation in their mark at the premium end of the market.

The applicants also filed evidence which sought to show that the word STEEL is used in relation to metal furniture and that a number of companies utilize the word STEEL in their titles and marks.

In his comparison of the respective marks the Hearing Officer noted that the opponents’ mark consisted of conjoined dictionary words STEEL and CASE and those words would be recognized by consumers. Likewise the applicants' mark consists of the word STEEL and Co an abbreviation for the word Company, and again this was likely to be recognized by the public. Thus there was no conceptual similarity. As the respective marks were different visually and phonetically there was little likelihood of confusion. Opposition under Section 5(2)(b) thus failed.

As the opponents were in no better position under Section 5(4)(a) as compared to Section 5(2)(b) the Hearing Officer saw no need to consider that ground.

Full decision O/028/04 PDF document51Kb