Sakare and Sacara Competing Marks

September 11, 2014

Sakare boxes    Sakare shops   Sacara products    Sacara

Sakare and Sacara are trademarks that are co-pending and are confusingly similar so a competing marks procedure was instituted under Section 29 of the Trademark Ordinance.

Sacara LTD is an Israel brand of cosmetics. Sakare is a UK-based brand of Cosmetics owned by Soap & Co. UK LTD

Both companies filed their confusingly similar trademarks for their confusingly similar brands selling confusingly similar products at around the same time, and a competing marks procedure was initiated.

Sacara submitted a statement from a branding expert that testified to when he conceived and suggested the name. Soap & Co. UK LTD filed a submission on 9 July 2014 to have the expert testimony submitted by Sacara LTD struck from the record!

On 24 July 2014 Sacara LTD responded and on 31 July 2014, Soap and Co. filed a response to the response.

This is an intermediate ruling that relates to the request to strike the Statement.

On 30 March 2014 Gidi Adar who is a branding specialist prepared a statement for Sacara. During cross-examination he claimed that the statement was prepared on 27 December 2012. The statement claims that Adar offered Sacara LTD a list of 17 names. On 30 March 2014 at the end of the hearing the parties agreed that the question to be considered was when Adar first prepared the list and the parties would agree on an expert to determine when the computer file was created.

On 15 May 2014 Sacara noted that the sides were unable to agree on an expert to collaborate when the file was created and that Adar’s statement would be acceptable but that Soap and Co. could cross-examine him on it. Adar stressed that for the sake of clarity and for the record, the term file indicates the digital file containing document appended to the witness statement.

On 28 May 2014 in a hearing, Deputy Commissioner Bracha gave Soap and Co. (Sakare) 30 days to submit an expert testimony and Adar could be present whilst the file was examined. On 6 July 2014 Soap and Co. filed an opinion by Mr Yoav Zilberstein who is a forensic computer recompiling specialist. The specialist determined that the file was created on 23 December 2012 and that a second file with a similar name was created on 19 February 2012.

Although Sacara claims that the sides agreed that both files were authentic, the Sakare withdrew from this position. On 9 July 2014, Sakare requested that the expert testimony be voided as the file contained 15 names instead of 17 and the wrong date. Additional files examined constituted and illegitimate widening of the issues. Sacara claims that Mr Zilbersten’s job was to determine when the file was created and he did this as requested and there was no widening of the issues.

Reviewing Mr Zilberstein’s statement indicated that although he claimed to be addressing wider issues in his investigation he actually addressed the issue in question, i.e. when the file was created. The predetermined agreed scope of his research did not take into account that two files with the same name would be uncovered. Ms Bracha ruled that the Expert Statement did not exceed that agreed and did answer the question. She found additional support in Issues of Civil Procedure p 145, 11th edition, 2013. Furthermore representatives of both parties were there when Mr Zilberstein did his investigation. As to the list only having 15 and not 17 names, whilst the file did no include Glossy24 and Gloss24, it did include the name Sacara, so the testimony did show that the name Sacara was considered in December 2014. Then again, the appended list was from a file not in the computer. Although the parties are not in agreement as to the authenticity of the files, Ms Bracha felt that the evidence could be included as something contentious rather than as agreed evidence and both parties could relate to it later.

Ms Jacqueline Bracha therefore rejected the request to cancel the expert opinion but ruled that the applicant is allowed to cross-examine the expert witness on his testimony on a mutually acceptable and agreed date in December 2014 or January 2015. She saw no reason to allow the applicant to cross-examine the workers of the printing-house. The Applicant is, however, allowed to submit an expert testimony within 14 days. Costs will be awarded at the end of the competing marks proceedings.

COMMENT

The date of conception and even the first use of a mark is rarely decisive in a competing marks issue, and scope of actual use and reputation is generally given more weight. The third consideration is equitable behavior and I suspect that the summations will attempt to argue this point in relation to when Sacara thought of the name.

Both parties are using arbitrary names that nevertheless recall mascara. I warn clients trying to be cute when selecting trademarks, that they will invariably run into these kinds of difficulties. they rarely listen, which is why these competing mark, opposition and cancellation procedures happen.


Competing Marks – the extent of Power Of Attorney and submitting summaries in writing

September 9, 2014

The cook store 253157

In my previous post I noted that Gornitzky and Partners, Attorneys-at-Law, seem snowed under and unable to help their client, Surprise Import & Marketing of Gifts Ltd ward off an attack on the validity of their trademark in a timely manner. Well, amongst other time-consuming activities, it seems that they and the client have also got caught up in a competing marks proceedings.

The mark in question, Israel TM No.253157 “The Cook Store” in classes 8 Tools and work hand-operated; cutlery; razors, In respect of devices for lighting, hitting (heating?) extracting streams (steam?), cooking, cooling, drying, airing, supplying water, and sanitarian (sanitation?) purposes in class 11, Tools and Household or kitchen containers, combs and sponges, brushes (except paint brushes detergents), items for cleaning, glassware, porcelain and earthenware not included in other classes, in class 21.

The Cook Store

The mark was filed at around the same time as Israel TM No.  241892 also for the Cook Store in classes 8 and 11, this time filed by TABLE TOP COLLECTION LTD.

Although both marks include styling, the text is identical and the logos are similar. In fact one seems to be a red on white negative of the other in white on red.

An oral hearing was arranged on 28 May 2014, and Ms Helena Kazen, the owner of Surprise Import & Marketing Of Gifts Ltd did not turn up to be cross-examined on her statement, and also failed to inform the adjudicator Table Top Collection LTD. that she would not be coming. The lawyer representing Ms Kazen and Surprise Import, Gornitzky and Partners claimed to have Power of Attorney to represent her, and went outside with the Table Top’s representative who phoned their client. Table Top decided to give up on their mark and also on the expense of cross-examining Ms Kazen.

On 9th July 2014, Surprise Import requested that Table Top, represented by Ehud Porat, Attorney and Notary, put something in writing to the effect that they were dropping their application. On 10 July Surprise Import requested 30 days to update the court. On 14 July Ms Yaara Shoshani Caspi gave Surprise Import until 20 July 2014 to give their decision to Table Top and both parties were to inform the court as to what had transpired and how they intended to continue

On 20 July, Table Top informed the court, and on 29 July Surprise Import informed the court. In their report to the court, Table Top requested legal costs, clarification and an additional hearing on the main dispute or on intended.

In her ruling, Ms Shoshani Caspi noted that giving up on a trademark application is not a trivial matter, particularly in a competing marks procedure where both parties are considered equally entitled to the mark until a ruling is made. In this case, Grodinzky apparently negotiated on behalf of their client but required telephone confirmation for the agreement reached so the extent of their representation was unclear. In the circumstances, they were required to put into writing a specific request and have failed to do so prior to this ruling issuing

In the circumstances, the competing marks procedures is to continue and both sides are to present evidence and to be available for cross-examination.

In this instance Ms Yaara Shoshani Caspi did see fit to compensate the second applicant for Surprise Import’s behaviour and fined Surprise Import & Marketing Of Gifts Ltd 7000 Shekels in legal costs.


Cook and Bake – Tempering Strict Interpretation of the Law with Mercy

September 9, 2014

 

259564 - The registered mark

259564 – The registered mark

Israel Trademark No. 259564 for the logo “Cook and Bake” was filed by “Surprise Import & Marketing Of Gifts Ltd”. It covers cutlery and razors in class 8, devices for hitting, cooking in class 11 (from the Hebrew, it seems beating heating was intended) and for tools and Household or kitchen containers, glassware, porcelain and earthenware not included in other classes in class 21.The mark was registered and for obvious reasons Cook n’ Bake LTD. filed to cancel the mark on 27 May 2014. On 7 August 2014, the mark owner requested an extension to respond to the request. A change of personnel at the legal representative (Gornitzky and Partners, Attorneys-at-Law) was given as grounds for the extension request.

The legal representative claimed that the deadline for filing evidence was 1 August 2014, but the patent office calculated that it was actually two months from the date of the submission of the cancellation request of 27 July 2014, and had already passed.

Gornitzky and Partners, Attorneys-at-Law were and remained the agent of record. A change of personnel within the firm, or moving a case from one attorney’s responsibility to another is not considered a change of representation. The argument that the lawyer had not got around to reviewing the case was not considered a legal basis for a time extension. Ms Shoshani Caspi who ruled on the request, felt that by Law the request should have been thrown out. Nevertheless, since trademarks are property, Ms Shoshani Caspi ruled beyond the strict letter of the law, and granted the attorneys until 31 August 2014, on condition that they paid the requisite extension.

 

Comments

לפנים משורת הדין” or clemency, is a legal principle well established in Jewish Law. See, for example, Babylonian Talmud: Baba Mezia 30b.

Specifically in monetary matters, strict interpretation of the Law is considered the behavior of the men of Sodom. On the other hand, lawyers should be encouraged to take their dockets seriously. In addition to requesting the extension fee, this is a classic case for ruling costs to the opposers, who could claim that their rights are ignored.

As we enter the period leading up to the Day of Judgement when we petition the Almighty to judge us mercifully and not in accordance with the strict letter of the Law, this ruling seems singularly appropriate if perhaps unfair to Cook n’ Bake LTD.

One way to compensate Cook n’ Bake LTD. would be to award them costs.


Gree

September 9, 2014

Israel Trademark No. 258113 to Gree Inc was allowed under the Madrid Protocol. In 27 categories.

Parfums Gres SA opposed the mark in class 3. Gree Inc did not respond and the mark has been restricted do as not to include coverage of class 3.


Kambrook Trademark Cancelled due to Lack of Use

September 9, 2014

electrical kitchen gadgets

Distributing Pty. LTD own Israel Trademark no. 97166 “Kambrook” for Electrical kitchen appliances; electrical cooking utensils including toasters, grillers, kettles, coffee makers and frying pans; all included in class 11.

In March 2014, Breville Pty. LTD, represented by JMB, Davis Ben-David filed a request to cancel the mark on the grounds that it hadn’t been in use in Israel over the three years prior to the request for cancellation being filed and was thus invalid under Section 41(a) of the Trademark Ordinance.

Evidence of lack of use included affidavits from John Sergeant, the CEO of Breville, and from Yehuda Golan, a private investigator.

John Sergeant claimed that Breville had bought Kambrook out and had marketed products under the name Kambrook in various countries including Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere and had attempted to file the mark in Israel. Yehuda Golan checked the High Street chain stores selling electrical equipment and also retailers in Tel Aviv and didn’t find anyone who had heard of the brand.

Despite contacting the Agent of Record, no response was forthcoming from the mark owners. In the circumstances, Ms Yaar Shoshani Caspi felt that Breville had presented sufficient evidence to conclude that the mark was not in use and she ruled that it was thus canceled.

Since Breville themselves claimed that Kambrook no longer existed, she did not award costs as there would not be anyone to collect these from.

COMMENTS

Kambrook seems to be in use in Australia and New Zealand. See http://www.kambrook.com.au/

This ruling explains the standards required to prove non-use. It may be compared with the Axxon ruling where the same adjudicator was (rightly) critical of a cancellation request filed by PCZL who did not use a private investigator but rather filed the affidavit of a trainee lawyer who was not qualified to determine use. There the mark was cancelled since the mark holder failed to respond.However as it turns out, the contested mark is actually in use, as I discovered with a basic Internet search


Ella Moss, are there grounds for Judicial Estoppel?

August 18, 2014

Ella Moss

Israel Trademark Number 241679 “Ella Moss” (the word mark, not the mark with butterfly, but it is a nice illustration, and this isn’t the sort of blog where we feature models in swim-wear) was filed by Mo Industries LLC. the mark covers clothing, namely, tops, bottoms, pants, skirts, jackets, coats, sweaters, cardigans, dresses, vests, ties, sleepwear, lingerie, undergarments, swimwear, rompers, baby bodysuits, layettes, activewear, namely, tops, bottoms, athletic clothing, sweatshirts, sweatpants, sweatshirts and jerseys, outerwear, namely, coats, jackets, parkas, vests and fleecewear, belts, footwear and headwear; all included in class 25 and retail store services featuring clothing and accessories, belts, footwear, headwear, purses, jewelery; all included in class 35.

Shimon Bodakov filed an opposition to the mark.

The interesting wrinkle in this case is that there is a corresponding case, Israel trademark no. 242680 “Ella יופי שנוח לך” (literally Ella, comfortable beauty) covering Clothing, footwear , headgear in class 25, that was filed by Shimon Bodakov and is being opposed by Hachette Filipacchi Presse. Shimon Bodakov is represented by Gabriel Kramer, and both Mo Industries LLC and Hachette Filipacchi Presse are represented by Dr Shlomo Cohen Law Offices.

The “Ella יופי שנוח לך mark is reproduced below.

Ella

In this case, Mo Industries requested that the trademark opposition be thrown out since in the 242680 case Bodakov / Kramer argued that there was no similarity between Ella Moss and  the graphical mark Ella יופי שנוח לך, whereas in the current case they are arguing a confusing similarity between the marks. Due to the contradictory arguments, the opposition should be thrown out.

Bodakov / Kramer responded that there is no estoppel. The other, ongoing opposition was indeed filed first, but has not been ruled on, and it is the job of the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks to decide whether or not there is confusing similarity or a likelihood of confusion. In the meantime, there is no reason why they have to be consistent.

The Ruling

The principle of Judicial estoppel is that a party claiming one thing in one case, once that claim is accepted, cannot deny that claim or make a contrary claim in a later case, even against a different party. A guiding principle of the Judicial estoppel is that the party succeeded in the earlier case. See 513/89 Interlego A/S vs. Exin-Lines Bros. S. A. and 6753/96 MM. Ch. T. vs. Friedman. The rationale against requiring success in the first ruled case is to prevent contradictory rulings by the courts.

In more recent rulings, the principle that the first case has to be successful is left open,  and it appears that there is no definite ruling on the issue. See 4224/04 Bet Sasson vs. Shickun Ovdim v’Hashkaot LTD. and 6181/08 Vinoker vs. The Head of VAT in Acre. The current trend is to look at the issue of equitable behaviour of the parties.

In this instance, there are two parallel opposition proceedings concerning Ella Moss and Ella יופי שנוח לך. In the 242680 case, Bodakov / Kramer argued that the two marks are not confusingly similar, and in the current case, which was filed later, Bodakov / Kramer filed an opposition on the grounds that the two marks were confusingly similar.

Nevertheless, it is not clear that there is a judicial estoppel in this case, since there has not been a decision. Furthermore, it is difficult to claim inequitable behaviour on the part of Bodakov / Kramer since they are simply interested, that should the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks decide that the two marks are indeed confusingly similar, that their mark should be preferred. Furthermore, should the opposition to 241679 be cancelled, then the mark would automatically be allowed and this would hobble Bodakov / Kramer since they would have to fight an issued mark and not a pending one.

Due to the seriousness of throwing the case out based on the estoppel and inequitable behaviour construction, which would deprive the Opposer of his day in court, and noting that the case-law does not consider arguments in pending cases as estoppeling, Ms Shoshani Caspi (the adjudicator of the case) rejected the request to throw the case out.

At the focus of both cases is the question of the confusing similarity between the two marks, however the parties are not identical so Ms Shoshani Caspi considered that it would not be fair to combine the two cases. the request for throwing out the opposition was rejected, but in the circumstances, no costs were awarded.

Ruling in Ella Moss, 22 July 2014.

Comments

As the marks are identical and the lawyers are identical, despite the different parties represented by Dr Shlomo Cohen Law Offices in the two cases, it could be argued that there are good grounds to combine the cases, or at least to offer the parties the opportunity to fight the two cases together. Such a development would save valuable time for the arbitrators at the patent office. It is,  however, correct for Ms Shoshani Caspi to overcome the temptation. Hachette Filipacchi Presse could conceivably want to challenge Ella Moss, for the same reasons that they have challenged Ella יופי שנוח לך. One assumes that the issue involves the word Ella for women’s fashion. Combining the cases could therefore result in Dr Shlomo Cohen Law Offices representing both Hachette Filipacchi Presse and Mo Industries LLC and  having to argue that Ella is both distinctive and generic, and that would seem to raise judicial estoppel. It would seem unlikely that in a combined action they could fairly represent the two parties to the best of their ability. Also, working out how to charge two parties sharing a combined case could be complicated.

The ruling provides insights into the concept of Judicial Estoppel and is a valuable intermediate ruling.

 

 


Under What Grounds Can A Mark Owner Require A Party Filing to Cancel a Mark to Post a Bond for Expenses?

August 17, 2014

bond lighterfelix lighter!

Briko Burns You More LTD has a registered trademark for HN covering lighters in class 34.

Tranmirian Hamias M’yeri LTD filed a cancellation proceedings and Briko responded to a cancellation request from Tranmirian Hamias M’yeri LTD.  to post 70,000 Shekels to cover legal expenses should their attempt to have Israel TM 245007 cancelled fail.

At the time the request was made, the parties had both files statements of case and Tranmirian had already filed evidence.

The request to post costs was based on legal precedent. Briko argued that as a rule, companies should post bail, and the onus is on the company to persuade the courts that this is not necessary. The Company Register lists  Tranmirian as not keeping the law since for 6 years they haven’t paid their company fees. Briko argued that this is sufficient to show that  Tranmirian is not on a sound financial footing.  Briko further argued that  Tranmirian have been using a wrong address which further complicates collecting should Briko win.

Tranmirian countered that none of the above was supported by an affidavit and this alone should be sufficient to have the request thrown out.  Tranmirian claims to be a law abiding company that pays its debts and that the missing fee to the company register was an oversight that has no been attended to.  Furthermore Briko themselves have a similar debt to the companies register!

The wrong address was a typographical error. The correct street was identified, but in the wrong city (Haifa instead of Nahariya). This has also been corrected. The firm denies any liens or mortgages and submitted an accountants letter to the effect that it could settle any bills if it lost. Furthermore, the requested 70,000 deposit was disproportionate to expent costs.

In her decision,  Ms Yaara Shoshani Caspi ruled that requesting a bond was legitimate if there were reasoanble grounds to conclude that an opposing party would not be able to pay their bill. A debt to the company register is not sufficient, and certainly where it is settled on being brought to the attention of the party in question. She concluded that there were insufficient grounds to require Tranmirian to post a 70,000 Shekel bond and she therefore rejected the request and ordered 1000 Shekels costs against Briko.


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