Dog Diggin Design sells products for dogs, such as dog beds, dog pillows and dog toys. When the company applies for trademark registration of the word mark HAIRMES, Hermes objects.


Hermes argues that the other party is trying to piggyback off of the reputation and goodwill of the world-renowned fashion company. The similarity between the HERMES and HAIRMES trademarks is reinforced by Dog Diggin adopting the look and feel of Hermes in its packaging, colors and designs.

The authorities follow this argument. HERMES is a well-known fashion brand worldwide. However, the brands were deemed phonetically and conceptually dissimilar. Visually, there is some degree of similarity between the marks in that both marks begin with the letter H and the last four letters are similar (RMES).

In addition, the company uses virtually the same colors, designs and packaging to promote the dog toys/bedding. It is clear to the trademark authorities that Dog Diggin Design intends to use the reputation of Hermes. Therefore, the trademark application is refused. (Source image: Abcor)


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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?