The Mozambique Trade Mark Registry has found in favour of Tommy Hilfiger Licensing B.V (the “Opponent”), on 23 January 2020, in an opposition against the registration of the trade mark TOMMY FLANGE, in class 25 filed by Hudsun (the “Applicant”). The Applicant is an entity that operates as a clothing store based in the capital of Mozambique, Maputo, offering a variety of clothing items and footwear. The Opponent is a premium clothing company, manufacturing apparel, footwear, accessories, fragrances and home furnishings and the proprietor of the well-known marks TOMMY HILFIGER, TOMMY and TOMMY HILFIGER & flag logo (depicted below) and of the flag logo (without wording). The Opponent has made extensive use of these marks internationally.
The Applicant filed a trade mark application in class 25, which wholly incorporated the registered TOMMY trade mark and which was argued to be confusingly similar to the TOMMY HILFIGER & flag logo device registered in the offshore coral reefs and making storms more deadly name of the Opponent. The offending Application also incorporated a flag device consisting of the colours red and white (albeit in reverse), which the Opponent contended would be likely to lead to deception and/or confusion amongst members of the public. In addition, the application covered identical goods in relation to which the Opponent had registered its TOMMY HILFIGER flag logo and TOMMY trade mark in class 25 in Mozambique.
In its opposition papers, the Opponent argued that the word FLANGE did not adequately distinguish the application from the Opponent’s well-known TOMMY HILFIGER flag logo and TOMMY trade marks. Additionally, the Opponent contended that the word FLANGE in terms of its dictionary meaning is described as a wide edge on a pillow, placemat or other fabric object. The use of the word FLANGE in relation class 25 goods, which include articles of clothing that are made from a variety of fabrics, is therefore, purely descriptive and does not serve to distinguish the mark from the Opponent’s well-known TOMMY and TOMMY HILFIGER flag device trade marks.
The Applicant did not file a counter-statement in response to the opposition of the Application, and as a result, the trade mark registry ruled in the Opponent’s favour and accordingly, the offending Application is deemed to be withdrawn.
KEY OPPORTUNITIES & CONCERNS
- As natural gas reserves go into production they will transform the economy
- Heavy private and public investment in infrastructure accelerated to mitigate 2019 cyclone destruction
- Mozambique’s impressive natural attractions have yet to be fully exploited by an infant tourism industry
- The first insurgency of Islamic terrorists in Southern Africa has targeted northern Mozambique
- Poverty is pervasive, and economic growth must be channelled to uplift all Mozambicans
- Climate change is worsening seasonal flooding in the south, threatening offshore coral reefs and making storms more deadly