The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has delivered a mixed judgment in a trademark opposition involving Scottish brewery BrewDog.
In a decision issued on May 13, the IPO said the brewery could only register the trademark ‘Brewdog Doghouse’ for some of the goods and services in the classes it had applied for.
BrewDog had applied to register the mark in classes 40, 41 and 43 for a range of goods and services, including services for providing food and drink to pubs and bars.
The decision comes after the mark was opposed by a competitor, the Doghouse Distillery. The Doghouse Distillery said BrewDog’s applied-for mark would cause confusion with one of its earlier trademarks if it was registered in classes 40 and 43.
Doghouse Distillery’s earlier trademark is for a dog’s head in black and white, with the word ‘Doghouse’ written underneath.
In its decision, the IPO said the wording in Doghouse Distillery’s mark is smaller than that of BrewDog’s, but “the eye is naturally drawn to the element of the mark that can be read”.
The IPO said that visually, the applied-for and earlier marks are similar to a medium degree because of the presence of the word ‘Doghouse’ in each.
Additionally, it said that “conceptually, the word ‘Doghouse’ will have the same meaning in both marks”.
It also found that Doghouse Distillery’s earlier mark has a “higher than average degree of inherent distinctive character”.
S Wilson, on behalf of the IPO, said: “I do not consider that the presence of the dog head device in the opponent’s mark and the presence of the word BrewDog in the applicant’s mark will be forgotten by the average consumer. I am satisfied that there is no likelihood of direct confusion.”
But, the IPO said the presence of the word ‘Doghouse’ in the applied-for mark would create a likelihood of indirect confusion in respect of those goods and services which are identical to those goods covered by the earlier mark.
As a result, the IPO said the application must be refused for goods and services such as brewing services, distilling services and bar and restaurant services in classes 40 and 43.
It said it could proceed in classes 40, 41 and 43 for services such as beverage canning services, education and training services, and advisory and consultancy services in connection with services for providing food and drink.