Same same but different
Earlier this year the Swedish company Monville Sweden AB applied for alcoholic beverages and got their trademark “Urbanpears” registered in Sweden, followed by an EU registration.
Shortly after, Monville wanted to change the trademark to “Urbanpeers” and applied to The Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV). They based the requested change on that the two words are 100% phonetically alike and that there is nothing mentioned in the Trademark Act that would be an obstacle.
According to Chapter 2, Section 29 of the Trademark Act, the trademark owner may make such non-material changes of the trademark that are not affecting the overall impression of the brand.
The word “peer” has a lot of different meanings; colleague, equal, peep, a British royal title, to mention a few. When PRV reviewed the word, they came to the conclusion that the change of name would affect the overall impression and declined Monville’s request.
This is a good example of the importance of choosing the right trademark name from the very beginning. In general, it’s impossible to do any changes to an already sent application – in the trademark world you are not able to add anything to an application, only for example delete a part of a classification.
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