Excel Telecom LTD filed Israel Trademark Number 251612 for “Voyager” in classes 9 and 38. Plantronic INC. opposed the mark. Indeed, they had filed their own identical mark, Number 255989 in class 9.
The sides came to a coexistence agreement and requested that the patent office allow both marks to be registered.
Ms Yaara Shoshani Caspi, the Adjudicator at the Israel Patent & Trademark Office, noted that the request was unsubstantiated and refused to rubber-stamp this request and invited the parties to attend a hearing to discuss the issue.
The decision is a correct one. The purpose of trademarks is not only to protect the vendors and service providers, but also to protect purchasers from confusion regarding origin of goods. The Patent Office is supposed to ensure that there is no likelihood of confusion. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the goods sold under the mark are different or aimed at different market segments, even if they are in the same class to prevent such confusion.
We wonder whether Star Trek could claim that Voyager was a well known mark of theirs. Bravely going where no man has gone before, we wonder if the Commissioner speaks Klingon.