KFC wins POPCORN CHICKEN appeal

Hungary

The Metropolitan Court has overturned a decision of the Hungarian Patent Office (HPO) to refuse an application to register the device mark POPCORN CHICKEN (1.Pk.26340/2003/5).

Kentucky Fried Chicken Holdings Inc (KFC) applied to register the mark for goods in Classes 29 and 30 of the Nice Classification, in particular, for deep-fried, bite-sized pieces of chicken. The HPO refused registration on the grounds that it was likely to cause confusion. It applied a literal translation to the words in the mark and reasoned that consumers would expect chicken-flavoured popcorn to be sold under such a mark. It stated that consumers would be confused if the mark was used for other goods. KFC appealed to the Metropolitan Court.

The court upheld the appeal and allowed registration. It agreed with KFC that the unusual word combination and script used for the mark meant that it was fanciful in nature. It also accepted KFC's argument that the mark had been registered in a number of other countries, where there had been no evidence of any confusion. In addition, the court noted that in certain circumstances a literal translation is not appropriate when examining the registrability of a mark as such an approach has the potential to produce absurd results.

Gabriella Sasvári, SBG & K Patent and Law Office, Budapest

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