9 May 2019Trademarks

Capital Group fails to stop competitor’s TM before UKIPO

American financial services company  Capital Group has failed to stop a competitor from registering a trademark with the UK Intellectual Property Office ( UKIPO).

In a  ruling on Friday, May 3, the UKIPO said there was no likelihood of confusion between  CAMcap Markets’ applied for mark and two of Capital Group’s earlier trademarks.

In November 2017, CAMcap sought to register a mark for the word ‘CAMcap’, written in bold, dark blue font on a black background, followed by a red full-stop.

Capital Group had opposed the filing, arguing that it infringed two of its earlier trademarks for the word ‘AMCAP’.

Both Capital Group’s trademarks and CAMcap’s applied-for mark were registered for financial services.

In its ruling, the IPO said it was “self-evident” that the “financial services” covered by the applied-for mark were identical to the “financial services” offered by Capital Group.

Regarding the visual similarity between the marks, the IPO found this to be lower than average. It said considering the capitalisation of the first three letters (‘CAM’) in the applied-for mark, and the three lower case letters that follow (‘cap’), the mark is likely to be seen as two separate words.

The IPO said it agreed with Capital Group that “the stylisation of CAMcap’s mark slightly obscures the lettering (the dark font on the black background)”.

However, it said this would “not make a material difference to the comparison of the marks since it is unlikely that consumers will ‘miss’ the letter C” in CAMcap’s mark.

It found that the addition of the letter ‘C’ is such “that the nature of the mark is changed completely”.

Additionally, it said the hard sound of the consonant C at the beginning of the applied-for mark “is quite different to the soft sound of the vowel A at the beginning of the earlier mark”.

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