Can similarity between words and devices exist?


Crystal Chen and Iris Lin

If you ever visit Taiwan, you will not want to miss the famous ice dessert, so-called ‘frog eggs’ or ‘pearls in sweet sauce’, available in the night markets.

The name of the dessert comes from the dark brown tapioca rice balls that appear similar to frog eggs in size, shape and colour.

The Taiwan Intellectual Property Court recently rendered a decision on an administrative litigation case involving a trademark dispute over ‘frogs laying eggs’, and based the conclusion of similarity between two marks merely on the connotation of two marks. The judgment is surprising.

The trademark at issue is composed of six Chinese characters,ww ‘巫記青蛙下蛋’, where ‘巫記’ refers to a family named ‘巫’ (pronounced ‘Wu’) and ‘青蛙下蛋’ (meaning ‘frogs laying eggs’). The trademark as a whole means ‘Family Wu’s frogs are laying eggs’ or ‘Family Wu’s frog lays eggs’. The trademark was filed in 2002 and registered in 2003 in Class 43 for eatery and beverage store services.

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