Trade mark decision

BL Number
Decision date
22 February 2001
Hearing Officer
Mr J MacGillivray
Nissin Shokuhin Kabushiki Kaisha
Spar Food Distributors Ltd
Sections 5(2)(b), 5(3) & 5(4)(a)


Section 5(2)(b) - Opposition suceeded

Section 5(3) - Not decided

Section 5(4) - Not decided

Points Of Interest

  • None


Opposition based on opponent’s numerous registrations in Class 30 et al of the mark SPAR (both solus and with device and added words). The mark in suit (covering noodles and pasta) consisted of the word SPA, slightly stylised, and a Japanese character following the word. In applying the usual tests under Section 5(2)(b), the Hearing Officer accepted that identical goods were involved and that the opponent’s mark possessed a highly distinctive character, and although the words in the respective marks were dictionary words with different meaning he doubted that either significations would be uppermost in the minds of customers in the normal course of trade. Moreover, he was also of the view that the degree of stylisation and the Japanese character in the mark in suit were unlikely to have any great impact upon the average customer in the UK, and given the aural and visual similarity of the respective words, being the dominant elements of the marks, he concluded that a likelihood of confusion existed, given also that imperfect recollection could well play a part in the purchasing process.

Opposition was therefore upheld under Section 5(2)(b), and in the circumstances the Hearing officer saw no need to consider the other cited grounds.

Full decision O/090/01 PDF document27Kb