IPO rejects ‘Cheerful Buddha’ TM for CBD coffee


Rory O'Neill

IPO rejects ‘Cheerful Buddha’ TM for CBD coffee

Oleksandra Naumenko / Shutterstock.com

A cannabinoid-infused coffee seller can’t register its ‘Cheerful Buddha’ trademark for a wide range of goods, after an opposition from cosmetics company Rituals.

In a decision published this month, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) refused Cheerful Buddha registration for key goods and services because it could cause confusion with Rituals’ ‘Happy Buddha’ brand.

Cheerful Buddha sells a range of cannabidiol (CBD)-based products, including coffee, chocolate and CBD drops. The London company filed to register the name of the company as a trademark covering these goods, as well as others including dietary supplements and herbal teas.

But Rituals said the brand would confuse customers into thinking it was a spin-off of its ‘Happy Buddha’ collection, which includes cosmetic products such as shower lotion, hand balm, and conditioner.

In their decision, an IPO official said the trademarks were “conceptually similar to a very high degree”, and likely to cause both direct and indirect confusion among consumers.

“The concepts of the respective first words, whilst not identical, evoke a very similar overall concept of a/the Buddha having a positive mood or disposition,” they wrote.

“The competing marks have highly similar meanings; bearing in mind that consumers rarely have the opportunity to make side-by-side comparisons between trademarks, the average consumer may not recall the respective marks with sufficient accuracy to differentiate between them,” the IPO added.

The Cheerful Buddha mark has been registered to cover a more limited range of goods and services than the company applied for, where the IPO deemed there was not as substantial overlap with those covered by the ‘Happy Buddha’ brand.

Cheerful Buddha has exclusive rights to use the name in the UK for products including pharmaceuticals, honeys, beers and soft drinks. But the mark was refused for herbal teas, coffee, and dietary supplements.

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IPO, CBD, Cheerful Buddha, coffee, trademark, Happy Buddha, Rituals, cosmetics