It’s not often that a Trade Mark Registry decision makes the newspapers, but yesterday the London Metro reported on a major catfight, decided on 21 December 2004. The cartoon character “Tony the Tiger” has been telling consumers that Kellogg’s FROSTIES are “Grrrreat!” for many years and has lived on the UK Trade Mark Register for a while. Kellogg though didn’t think it was “Grrreat!” when Exxon applied to register the figurative TIGERMARKET mark, which featured a cartoon tiger for shops and cafes located at its petrol stations. “Down Kellogg’s Kitty” said the hearing officer – there was judged to be no likelihood of confusion, since consumers would distinguish between the two lines of goods. Though cafes and restaurants sell breakfast cereals, there was thought to be no connection between the parties’ goods/services. The article ends with a useful piece of information that you’re unlikely to find in any IP test book: the award of costs in Exxon’s favour (£1,100) would purchase 561 delicious 750g packets of FROSTIES.
The IPKat, always happy to see a cat case in court, notes that the question of similarity between restaurants and cafes and foodstuffs that may be served there has come up before OHIM and has been decided differently.
Kitty confusion here, here and here