In October 2013, a company named Hangzhou Ku Ku Jie Trading Co., Ltd. filed for registration with the Chinese Trade Mark Office (CTMO) the trademark “MaxIMazo 玛克斯玛佐(which sounds “MaKeSiMaZuo”). The office performed the substantive examination and did not find any obstacle to the registration, so the application was preliminary approved and published for opposition on the goods in class 25 (fashion apparel and accessories).

The Italian MaxMara fashion company discovered the existence of such an application and filed an opposition with the aim of preventing the registration considering that the trademark was too similar to its trademark “MaxMara” in use for same/similar goods.

The CTMO held that the English part of the opposed trademark and MaxMara’s prior trademark were similar in letter combination, pronunciation and overall vision, so the trademarks were confusingly similar. Therefore the trademark “MaxIMazo 玛克斯玛佐” was refused from registration.

The decision is worth notice because it grants a reasonable scope of protection to the trademark “MaxMara” against a trademark which is not identical. We emphasize that it is the front part of the trademark (“Max”) that is regarded as crucial in assessing the similarity and reputation on the market. Therefore, the decision enlarges the scope of protection. HFG represented MaxMara in this case.