Geox is famous Italian shoes brand that is developing its business in China. As often happen market development is followed by several imitations and therefore companies must be well trained to spot and react against actual and potential infringement.
Recently Geox spa won a difficult case in front of Beijing High People’s Court against the Trademark "LEOX" and Trademark review and Adjudication Board (TRAB). Herein the comparison between the two trademarks:
According to trademark regulations and practices trademarks with different first letter(s) are often not considered as similar. And indeed in the phase of opposition and opposition appeal, Chinese Trademark office (CTMO) and TRAB didn't support the claims of the Italian shoes brand, they deemed the opposed trademark "LEOX" is dissimilar to "GEOX".
Nevertheless, in the administrative litigation phase, GEOX insisted on the similarity and supplemented more evidence, so that Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court supported the opposition claim, and later Beijing High Court reaffirmed the favorable decision. The High Court Judgment said that the Latin part "LEOX" shall be the predominant and distinctive part considering it is the upper and bigger element of the entire Trademark. "LEOX" is just different from "GEOX" in the first letter, even though it is decorated with two dots above the letter "O", it is confusingly similar in terms of word component, pronunciation and overall visual effect. HFG represented GEOX in this case.