ABBA application meets its Waterloo on appeal

Vietnam

The Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam has rejected an application to register the figurative mark ABBA in respect of goods in Class 16 of the Nice Classification (Case VN205/M1454/06, June 29 2007).

According to the Vietnam Trademark Law, a sign that misleads and/or confuses consumers as to the origin of goods/services shall not be protected as a trademark. The law also provides that a sign that is identical or similar to the name of a Vietnamese or foreign organization to the extent that it may cause confusion with such a name (except where permitted by relevant competent authorities or persons) shall not be protected as a trademark by the state.

The National Office of Intellectual Property held that applicant Au Truong Thanh's trademark is identical to the name of the famous Swedish band ABBA and thus may not be registered.

On appeal, Thanh filed evidence to support his claim that ABBA is not the name of a foreign organization and thus does not fall under the restriction to trademark registration provided by the law. The ministry agreed that ABBA is not the name of a foreign organization as defined by the law. However, it held that Thanh's ABBA figurative mark was likely to mislead consumers into thinking that the goods to which it would apply originated from the band ABBA. Accordingly, it dismissed Thanh's appeal.

Duong Le Hoai, LÊ & LÊ, Hanoi

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