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Jessica Alba’s company fails in UK TM opposition

A company owned by actress Jessica Alba has failed to prevent the registration of a trademark in the UK. The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) decided the matter.

In August 2017, Honestly Hope applied to register ‘Honestly Hope’ as a trademark in the UK, covering cosmetics and medicinal oils in classes 3 and 5. The Honest Company owns an EU trademark ‘Honest’ (trademark number 13,779,211), registered in classes 3, 4, and 21 for products such as cosmetics, candles, and shaving equipment. In addition, The Honest Company owns word mark ‘Honest’ in classes 3 and 5 for household cleaners, toiletries, and baby products. The ‘Honest’ Mark is an EU designation of international registration number WE1245396, based on the same mark registered in the US.

Alba founded The Honest Company, which markets ethical household products, in 2011. Its goods range from cosmetics, to sun cream, to laundry detergent.

Alba’s company argued that its marks are “fully subsumed” within the applied-for mark and that consumers pay more attention to the beginning of a mark. The IPO agreed, but noted that the additional word in the applied-for mark does provide “an important point of distinction”.

Overall, the IPO found said the aural and visual similarity of the marks is medium at most.Although both marks “share the concept of honesty” the IPO noted a “perceptible difference” in the focus of the message portrayed by the applied-for mark and the existing marks.

It said that ‘honest’ means ‘free from deceit’ whereas ‘honesty’, when paired with the word ‘hope’, offers a suggestion or direction to consumers rather than describing the goods related to the word. The presence of the word ‘hope’ therefore creates a “distinct conceptual difference between the marks”, the IPO concluded, meaning the marks are conceptually similar to a low degree.

Finally, the earlier ‘Honest’ marks have an average level of distinctiveness, according to the IPO. It said The Honest Company did not file any evidence of use, and the possibility of the mark having an “enhanced level of distinctiveness” could therefore not be considered.

“Even where the foods are identical, the differences between the marks mean that there is no likelihood that the average consumer” would be confused, the IPO concluded. It dismissed the opposition.

Source : World Intellectual Property Review

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