The mark "MUHI" of International application no.1027797 under the name of Ikeda Mohando Co., Ltd (JP), designating Vietnam, for products "Pharmaceuticals, sanitary and veterinary preparations..." in Class 05 was temporarily denied protection by the NOIP on the grounds that it was confusingly similar to the cited trademarks “MUJI”,Registration Certificate no.202741 and “MUJI, Japanese characters [mujirushi ryohin]”, Registration Certificate no.185181 for products/services in Classes 03 to 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34, 36, 39 and 43.
The applicant appealed against the above decision, arguing as follows:
- The applied-for mark “MUHI” and two cited marks “MUJI” and “MUJI, Japanese characters [mujirushi ryohin]” are all simple word letter, specifically consisting of 4 letters and two syllables. Although they have the same first two letters [MU], they are different in the last two letters, which are "HI" and "JI". Their pronunciation is also different, as “mu-hi” and “mu-di”. In fact, for simple word marks which have only one or two syllables, just only one character in difference is sufficient enough for consumers to distinguish them from each other;
- Products bearing the applied-for mark and the cited marks are "pharmaceuticals...", usually purchased under physicians’prescriptions, so customers will be cautious, hard to confuse "MUHI" with “MUJI”; and
- The applied-for mark’s owner has been granted a Letter of Consent by the cited marks’ owner allowing the use of the mark “MUHI” of International application no.1261219 for products of Class 05 in Vietnam.
Held that the above-said argument grounded and convincing, the NOIP canceled its previous notice of registration temporary refusal and issued Decision no.1430/QD-SHTT dated May 14, 2021 to register the mark “MUHI” of International application no.1261219./.