Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
25 March 2004
Hearing Officer
Mr M Reynolds
it intelligent transport
Vetatech Limited
Mastercard International Incorporated
Sections 5(2)(a); 5(2)(b); 5(3) & 5(4)(a)


5(2)(a) - Opposition failed

5(2)(b) - Opposition failed

5(3) - Opposition failed

5(4)(a) - Opposition failed

Points Of Interest

  • 1. Comparison of the marks : device of overlapping coloured circles v overlapping coloured circles with letters on them.
  • 2. Costs in proceedings before the Registrar : litigants in person.


The opposition was based on a number (36 in all) of registrations consisting of devices of interlocking circles, with or without the word MASTER CARD. The marks applied for comprised the letters i and t, each set on a background of interlocking coloured circles.

The Hearing Officer quickly dismissed the Section 5(2)(a) objection; it was "scarcely credible that the average consumer would regard (the differences) as so insignificant that they (might) go unnoticed".

Under Section 5(2)(b) the comparison of the goods disclosed that the respective specifications encompassed the same goods. After a careful comparison of the marks the Hearing Officer concluded that they were similar "to a small degree only". On a global view the Hearing Officer found no likelihood of confusion.

Given the gulf between the opponents’ services and the applicants' goods taken in conjunction with the net effect of the similarities and differences between the marks, the Hearing Officer could find no basis on which the opponents could succeed under Section 5(3).

In the light of these findings the Hearing Officer could see no circumstances in which the opponents could establish a misrepresentation likely to lead to damage. The Section 5(4)(a) objection failed accordingly.

The award of costs reflected the unnecessary trouble the applicants had been put to in having to consider irrelevant evidence and the fact that they had represented themselves.

Full decision O/081/04 PDF document117Kb