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“GODZILLA”(r) Chomps Up Demolition Cutter Trademark “GUZZILLA” in Japan IP High Court

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“GODZILLA”(r) Chomps Up Demolition Cutter Trademark “GUZZILLA” in Japan IP High Court

posted 10 months ago

Japan’s famous monster “Godzilla,” that is, its trademark, rampages again. On July 19, 2023, Japan’s IP High Court judged in favor of the Japan Patent Office (JPO) Invalidation of Registration for another trademark, “GUZZILLA.”

What’s GUZZILLA?

GUZZILLA is the name for a product line of rebar and steel cutters, registered by Taguchi Industrial Co., Ltd. of Okayama – a demolition machinery manufacturer. (As of August 2, 2023, this line is still visible on Taguchi’s website in English.) Taguchi registered the GUZZILLA trademark in 2012 with the JPO.

How did the JPO and IP High Court Reason?

In 2019, the JPO agreed that the trademark GUZZILLA, in spite of Taguchi’s claims that its name came from “guzzle,” came dangerously close to “Godzilla,” which entertainment company TOHO Co., Ltd. has registered. The image of destructive crunching also lends itself to a close association, the JPO reasoned.

Taguchi appealed to the IP High Court, but the IP High Court agreed that GUZZILLA resembles GODZILLA too much, in the words’ sound and appearance as well as the image both bring to mind.

Beware of any character that might chomp on you with its trademark too close to your new idea!

Sources

Jiji Press Ltd. “「GUZZILLA」商標無効=建機部品愛称、「ゴジラ」と酷似―混同の恐れ指摘・知財高裁 [‘GUZZILLA’ trademark invalid: machinery parts nickname too similar to ‘GODZILLA,’ IP High Court points out risk of confusion].” https://sp.m.jiji.com/article/show/3008401 July 30, 2023. Accessed August 2, 2023.

Header image by djedj from Pixabay. Content image from Taguchi Industrial Co., Ltd.

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