KLINTEX and CLITEX held to be confusingly similar

The Ministry of Commerce has upheld a decision of the Venezuelan Trademark Office in which the latter had refused to register the trademark KLINTEX (Resolution 148, October 8 2009, published in the IP Gazette 507 on October 29 2009).
Disorca CA applied to register the trademark KLINTEX (Applications 1997/14448 and 1997/14449) for goods in Classes 1 and 3 of the Nice Classification. The Trademark Office rejected the applications, finding that KLINTEX was confusingly similar to CLITEX (Registration  F84139), which is registered for goods in National Class 6 (which includes International Class 3). The Trademark Office based its decision on Article 83 of Andean Community Decision 344.

Disorca appealed, but the Trademark Office affirmed the decision. Disorca filed a second appeal before the Ministry of Commerce.
The ministry found that the marks were confusingly similar from a visual and phonetic point of view. In particular, it held that:
  • both marks have the same number of syllables, and the structure of the words 'klintex' and 'clitex' is similar;
  • the syllables 'kli' and 'cli' are pronounced in the same way;
  • both marks contain the same vowels, which occupy the same position in the marks; and
  • the marks had the same ending ('tex').
Disorca argued that both marks could coexist on the market since the KLINTEX mark is used for cleaning products, while the CLITEX mark is used for pharmaceuticals and perfumes. However, according to the ministry, there was no evidence that would allow it to decide that the marks could coexist on the market without creating likelihood of confusion.
Further, the ministry pointed out that both marks covered goods in International Class 3. Therefore, the goods shared the same channels of distribution and commercialization. 

In light of the above, the ministry dismissed the appeal.
Interesting, in 2007 the owner of the CLITEX mark had reclassified its mark in International Class 5 (which is also covered by National Class 6) when renewing its registration. However, the ministry did not take this fact into account in reaching its decision.
Disorca may appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice within six months of the decision.
Cristina Galavís Sucre, Estudio Antequera Parilli & Rodríguez, Caracas

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