PatentTrademark

A Stylized Word Mark in One Country May Be Too Simple and Common in Another

A single alphabet letter mark may face a bigger challenge in some jurisdictions than others. Take the example of Prince Sports International Company Ltd.’s stylized letter “P”. The Korean Trademark Act prevents registration of “a trademark that consists solely of a simple and common mark” under Article 33(1)(6). Prince Sports International Company Ltd., a Hong Kong-based company that manufactures sports goods, sought to register “P” as its trademark for jewelry, computers, online shopping mall businesses, etc. in Korea. It had already registered the same mark in the United States, Australia, and China, among other countries. In the United States, it is registered as Prince Sports, Inc.’s stylized word mark for tennis rackets. However, the Korean IP Office (KIPO) examiner rejected the application under the Korean Trademark Act, Article 33(1)(6)(a trademark that consists solely of a simple and common mark may not be registered) and Article 33(1) (7)(nondistinctive trademarks that do not serve as a source identifier for other reasons are also unregistrable).

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