SPAM v SPAM Owner of SPAM meat fails to invalidate â€˜similarâ€™ trademark
Hormel based its claim against Dukka on two main grounds:
1. The protection of an earlier trade mark against an identical or similar sign used for identical or similar goods or services where a likelihood of confusion exists
2. The protection of an earlier trade mark against an identical or similar sign used for non similar goods or services where the sign would take unfair advantage of a reputation or be detrimental to a distinctive character.
The court dismissed the first claim on the grounds that the goods covered by the trade marks were not identical or similar, one is food and the other is a drink.
The second claim was also dismissed as although the canned meat trade mark is well known in the UK the court felt that Hormel failed to prove that their trade mark had the same reputation in the countries and member states that the Dukka trade mark is used.
Hormel were also unsuccessful in proving that it had distinctive character. Hormel stated that the word ‘spam’ is actually parts of the words ‘spiced’ and ‘ham’. The court explained that the term is usually used for unwanted emails.
Therefore on the 9th October the Court of The Hague in The Netherlands dismissed the claim as the Dukka trade mark is not used in member states which Hormel trade mark is well known and the company has no intention of expanding to the UK. There is no risk of confusion between the two as one is a drink and the other is food.