CORN FLAKES is generic but valid, says PTO

Venezuela

In Maizoro SA de CV v Kellogg Company (Case 00905), the Venezuelan Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has rejected the claim that the registration of the CORN FLAKES mark is invalid. It found that although the mark had become generic through use, it was not generic when the registration was granted.

Maizoro SA de CV, a Mexican producer of breakfast cereals, sought to cancel Kellogg's 1988 registration of the CORN FLAKES mark on the basis that it identifies a certain type of cereal and is therefore generic. Maizoro contended that granting rights in such a term to a single party precludes others from using that term for information purposes. This, claimed Maizoro, gives the owner of the mark a privileged commercial position, and breaches Venezuelan law on fair competition and non-discrimination.

The PTO rejected Maizoro's claim. Although it found that the mark had become generic in Venezuela after 1988, the mark was valid at the time of registration.

Ricardo Fischer, Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque, Caracas

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