22 October 2019TrademarksSaman Javed

UKIPO sides with Amazon in software trademark opposition

Amazon has been successful in its bid to stop the registration of a trademark that it said would infringe earlier trademarks for its Amazon Spark mobile application.

The decision, published on October 15 by the UK Intellectual Property Office ( UKIPO), comes after by technology company Whitchester applied to register ‘SPARKK’ in class 9 for goods including computer application software, mobile applications and software for social networking services.

But the application was opposed by Amazon, which said its earlier trademarks for ‘Amazon Spark’ are also registered in class 9 for identical goods.

In its comparison of the applied-for mark and earlier trademarks, the UKIPO said that while Amazon’s trademark consists of two words and the word ‘Amazon’ appears as the first component, both words make “a roughly equal contribution to the overall impression the trademark conveys”.

Additionally, it said the addition of the extra letter ‘k’ in ‘Sparkk’ may go unnoticed by the consumer and that the average consumer will interpret the mark as the well-known word ‘spark’.

It said that taking into account the fact that the first five letters of the applied-for mark are identical to the second word of the earlier trademarks, there is a medium degree of visual similarity.

The UKIPO also ruled in favour of Amazon due to the distinctiveness of Amazon’s trademarks.

It said that even if the average consumer was paying a high degree of attention during the selection process, a consumer is likely to assume that Witchester’s ‘Sparkk’ is a variation of Amazon’s ‘Amazon Spark’ trademark.

The UKIPO found it was likely that ‘Sparkk’ would be seen as designating a sub-brand of Amazon Spark, therefore a likelihood of confusion exists.

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