Starbucks Corporation v. Nicolas Wessang

Starbucks Corporation


The goods are intended for general consumption and accordingly the relevant public consists essentially of the average consumer. Despite the presence of the similarities (initial part of the words), the conflicting trade marks are, overall, visually dissimilar. The marks are phonetically almost identical. Conceptually, a distinction must be made between English-speaking consumers (basically the marks will not be perceived as having a specific or strong concept) and non-English speaking consumers (no conceptual comparison can be made). Even if ‘STAR were a word found to be commonly used as or in trade marks, not only is the Board bound to make a comparison of the marks as a whole, but the applicant has not produced reasoning or evidence to suggest that the other elements in the marks on which it relies are themselves dominant elements or elements of any great distinctive character in comparison with ‘STAR. ‘Savoury biscuits, fried biscuits, extruded biscuits, aperitif biscuits, to the exclusion of sweet biscuits and pastry (CTMA) are inter alia identical to ‘biscuits (Danish trade mark) registration. Furthermore, as they often satisfy the same need, are used in a similar manner, are complementary and are intended for the same end user, they could be considered similar. As to the raw and processed nuts and potato crisps, they are similar to ‘snack foods.In comparing the goods, reference must be made to the general characteristics of the goods in question rather than to what are claimed to be features of the products specific to the parties and their marketing practices or strategies. The potential channels of distribution and the possible sales outlets of the goods in issue remain the same as does the nature of the goods and their end users.The appeal must be dismissed.

Comparison of Trademarks