Israel Trademark Number 247341 for the word-mark Matrix covers Tablet PC, electronic frames and digital cameras; all included in class 9. It was filed by a private individual called David Alon.
The mark was allowed and on publishing for Opposition purposes, Iscar (an Israeli company that is a major manufacturer of cemented carbide cutting tools) filed an opposition.
Iscar requested that Alon file 100,000 Shekels bond to cover costs in the event that he fails to win the opposition. Furthermore, until a ruling issues on the bond issue, the opposition should be considered as in suspense, and finally, due to a response from the applicant on 17 August 2014, the application to file the trademark should be considered as voided.
It turns out that Alon is handling a bankruptcy proceedings and he agreed to suspend the opposition proceedings until he can come to an understanding with his creditors in the bankruptcy hearing scheduled in December 2014.
At this stage of the proceedings, Iscar have until 24 October 2014 to file their evidence.
REGARDING THE BOND
Regulation 519a enables someone sued to request that the plaintiff post a bond. In this instance Iscar is opposing Alon’s registration and so the regulation does not apply. Furthermore, in the current instance, even were Alon the plaintiff, the Adjudicator of Intellectual Propoerty, Ms Shoshani Caspi , does not consider that the circumstances justify requiring a bond. A private individual (as opposed to a limited company) is generally not required to post bond merely because of poverty, because this would limit his right of access to the courts.
Forcing Alon to post a bond would effectively close the proceedings (probably the point), and should only be allowed if he has no chance of succeeding on the merits. The request was refused.
REGARDING THE REQUEST TO CONSIDER THE TRADEMARK WITHDRAWN
The case for withdrawing the mark is that Iscar considers it confusingly similar to their mark 195919 also in Class 9.
Iscar’s mark covers Automatic machine tools and accessories; vending machines; computer hardware and software used to control machine tools and accessories use, supply, purchase and inventory for the manufacturing industry; all included in class 9, and is shown here:
Iscar claims that Alon’s mark is confusingly similar as their earlier mark and is in the same class. They consider that Alon should have informed the Patent Office that he was bankrupt and being in the status should refrain from legal actions. Forcing him to withdraw the applicant was preferable than an opposition proceeding.
Ms Shoshani Caspi, the arbitrator assigned to the case ruled that she could not decide to have the mark thrown out in a preliminary action without hearing arguments from both sides. It was premature to accept that the marks were confusingly similar and that Alon’s mark should not be allowed. The fact that he was bankrupt was not sufficient justification to prevent him from trying to defend his rights before the Israel Patent and Trademark Office. She therefore rejected having the application simply thrown out.
In conclusion, Ms Shoshani Caspi gave Alon until 31 December 2014 to submit the ruling of the Tel Aviv District Court regarding the bankruptcy, to decide on the application and the opposition and suspended the proceedings until then. Following the District Court’s ruling, she would decide on a timetable for filing evidence. Finally she decided that both sides should cover their own costs.
Preliminary Motions regarding Opposition to Israel Trademark Number 247341, Iscar vs. David Alon ruling by Ms Shoshani Caspi, 22 September 2014.
Iscar makes metal matrix cutting tools. The term matrix has a plethora of meanings in different contexts but does not mean anything particular with regards to tablets, electronic frames and digital cameras. I don’t see that Iscar has a very strong case in opposing this. There is probably room for coexistence of the two marks. In the circumstances, they could probably buy the mark from Alon for less than the cost of opposing it, which they would be unlikely to recover anyway.