Back in August 20, 2007, Zhejiang Modern New Energy Co., Ltd. filed application to register the trademark "现代" ("Modern" in Chinese) with China Trademark Office, and the designated goods were those of Class 11 including "cookers" which belongs to Subgroup 1104. Hyundai Corporation entrusted Unitalen to file an opposition to this mark for being similar to Hyundai's prior marks including "现代" designating goods in Class 11 including "refrigerators" which belong to Subgroups 1105 and 06. Having undergone trademark review and administrative lawsuit, Unitalen finally won the case on behalf of Hyundai and the registration of the opposed trademark is rejected.
In this case, Unitalen attorneys successfully argued that although the goods of the opposed trademark and those of the cited mark do not belong to the same sub-group, they are both daily household appliances for mass consumers, with strong relevance in function, use, sales channel and target consumer, so they should be considered as similar goods. Both TRAB and Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court supported the above arguments.
[Attorney's Comments] In judging the similarity of goods, the "Guide for distinguishing similar goods and services" published by the Trademark Office shall be the primary but not the sole standard. According to the Interpretations of Supreme People's Court on the Several Issues of Applicable Laws for Hearing of Civil Cases Concerning Disputes over Trademark, whether the function, use, production, sales channel and target consumer of goods are identical or significantly relevant shall also be taken into account to decide whether the goods are similar or substantively correlated that is apt to cause confusion. Therefore, attorneys shall exercise prudent judgment of each particular case, and take full account of the related factors, so as assist the trademark owners to protect their rights and interests actively.
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