Gucci lost a trademark lawsuit against Japanese jersey maker Parodys, which has a track record of imitating luxury fashion brand logos. However, the patent specialist, who won the case on behalf of the Osaka-based clothing company, admits he feels Japan’s current law needs to be evaluated.
Launching SCMP, Saturday, September 17, 2022, in July 2021, Gucci filed a lawsuit against Parodys, which is owned by Nobuaki Kurokawa, after noting that he had a trademark named “CUGGL” in October 2020. Kurosawa applied the name to clothes, belts, footwear feet, and athletic wear.
CUGGL appears in the same font as used in the fashion house’s logo, even with the same spacing. However, the Kurosawa company uses it with a thick colored line that covers the bottom of each letter.
Gucci’s complaint was that the lines obscured parts of the letters which would have exposed them to read as “CUGGL.” Given that Gucci is an internationally renowned brand, anyone who just looked at the top of the letters would think they made up the word Gucci.
But last July, the Japanese Patent Office ruled that the CUGGL trademark “could not be equated with GUCCI,” or may have “an economic or organizational relationship with the applicant.” Masaki Mikami, founder of Marks IP Law Firm, previously said he was confident of winning the case on Kurokawa’s behalf.
Mikami said, “There’s no way Japanese consumers would associate the term ‘CUGGL’ with ‘GUCCI.’ I don’t think the ‘GUCCI’ logo has been used with painted lines. If so, there is no reasonable possibility of confusion.”
“Besides, Kurokawa doesn’t promote T-shirts bearing the ‘CUGGL’ logo by using GUCCI, because he advertises them as parodies,” he said. Besides, Mikami said, the words didn’t sound the same when they were spoken.