Cartier's COUGAR too tame to oppose local COUGAR


Jeweller Cartier International BV has lost a 10-year battle to oppose the registration in Venezuela of the word and device mark COUGAR in Class 9 of the Nice Classification (scientific equipment) (Case 928, August 3 2006).

Upon hearing of the application by Elias Barnatan in 1996, Cartier filed an opposition on the basis of registrations it held in various countries for the mark COUGAR; Cartier also claimed that its mark is well known for watches. The Venezuelan Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) rejected the opposition and Cartier appealed.

For a mark to be considered well known in Venezuela, its owner must demonstrate:

  • the degree of recognition that consumers have of the mark;

  • the extent of advertising and promotion enjoyed by the mark; and

  • the length of time and geographical area of use of the mark.

Once these requirements are fulfilled, the mark will obtain protection in Venezuela, even if it is not registered with the PTO.

However, the PTO rejected Cartier's appeal on the grounds that the evidence filed was not sufficient to prove that the COUGAR mark is well known. In the absence of a well-known status, the PTO found that there was no basis to refuse the 1996 COUGAR application. Accordingly, the PTO rejected Cartier's opposition and ordered the registration of the mark.

Monica Granadillo S, Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez, Caracas

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