The Supreme Administrative Court held on 6 August 2015 in favor of the Intellectual Property Court that "Stopgap" trademark should not be registered.
This is a case of the trademark invalidation administrative litigation initiated by Gap (ITM) Inc. against Huang Baicheng (a local individual in Taiwan) concerning the issues of "GAP" vs "stopgap".
The Trademark "stopgap" was granted registration for use on garments and boots relevant goods on 16 October 2011. Gap (ITM Inc.) cited its registered trademarks "GAP" to file an opposition on 1 February 2012 with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO, the Trademark Office in Taiwan) against the registration "stopgap". The IPO held that the disputed trademark is "stopgap" rather than "stop gap"; no confusion or dilution will be caused since "stopgap" has its meaning "a temporary substitute for something else". Gap (ITM) Inc. then filed an administrative appeal on 9 April 2014 but the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) rejected the administrative appeal. Gap (ITM) Inc. further filed an administrative litigation with the Intellectual Property Court on 3 October 2014.
The IP Court finally cancelled the registration of "stopgap" on 12 February 2015 after investigation, hearings and trial. The IP Court not just held that "GAP" is a famous trademark in Taiwan but also took the view that the existence of the trademarks similar to "GAP" may cause any likelihood of confusion or dilution due to highly confusing similarity between "GAP" and "stopgap". Besides, "stopgap" actually has such a malicious meaning of "stop" "gap", which may have the malicious intention against "gap" and should have constituted unfair competition.
An appeal was filed against the IP Court judgement. The Supreme Administrative Court rejected the appeal on 6 August 2015.