MAN AG V BEIQI FOTON MOTOR CO, LTD [2015] ATMO 90

This matter concerned an opposition by MAN AG to the extension of protection of Beiqi Foton’s Australian designation of its AUMAN trade mark in respect of automobiles in Class 12.

The opponent led evidence of its use and registration of various ‘MAN’ trade marks in respect of motor vehicles.

On section 44, the Hearing Officer was not persuaded that the opponent’s MAN registrations were too similar to the AUMAN trade mark as the marks have sufficient differences visually, aurally and contextually and the goods covered are expensive, considered purchases.

On section 60, the applicant accepted that that opponent holds a reputation in its MAN trade marks in relation to the goods at issue, but argued that the dissimilarly of the trade marks rendered any chance of consumer deception or confusion minimal and not enough to invoke section 60.

Having found that the trade marks were not too similar under section 44, the Hearing Officer was not persuaded that deception or confusion was likely as a result of the opponent’s reputation.

A prior dispute between the two parties led to a Taiwan Supreme Administrative Court decision that the AUMAN application was made in bad faith (as a result of prior knowledge of the MAN trade marks). However, the Hearing Officer noted that he was not privy to the materials before the Taiwanese Court and, based on the information available, the conduct of the applicant could not be considered to be bad faith.

No grounds of opposition were established.

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