7 May 2019Trademarks

UKIPO throws out Kellogg’s ‘Fruit Loop’ opposition

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has handed a victory to British brewery Fuller’s after it rejected a trademark opposition brought by the  Kellogg Company.

In its  decision, issued last Thursday, May 2, the UKIPO found that Kellogg’s had failed to demonstrate the reputation of its ‘Froot Loops’ brand in the UK.

In June 2018, Kellogg’s filed an opposition to Fuller’s ‘Fruit Loop’ mark for a seasonal summer beer, which the food manufacturer claimed infringed its EU trademark for the breakfast cereal brand (EU number 145325).

Kellogg’s claimed that the Fuller’s mark would benefit from its cereal product’s reputation and also damage the brand by its use in connection with an alcoholic beverage.

Fuller’s, however, argued that the products had little in common in terms of taste or flavour, and that cereal products and beer were unlikely to be placed near each other in shops.

The UKIPO found that the marks were similar to a low degree, taking into account the other elements in Fuller’s mark, including the words ‘Tropical fruit pale ale’ and the alcohol content label.

The office also ruled that the ‘Froot Loops’ mark had a low degree of reputation and distinctiveness in the UK, nothing that the cereal was much more popular in the US market.

Kellogg’s had failed to provide sufficient evidence demonstrating sales figures of brand reputation in the UK, the decision said.

According to the UKIPO, “[Kellogg’s] failed to provide any sales figures for the UK, and the only marketing figures were in relation to a special edition ‘Unicorn Froot Loops’”.

The UKIPO awarded costs of £2,400 (US$ 3,413) to Fuller’s.

WIPR has contacted Fuller’s and Kellogg’s for comment.

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