A recent trademark infringement case acts as a reminder that trademark law doesn’t just protect exact copies of trademarks.
A German company (Bugatti GmbH) manufactures and sells clothing and accessories in Germany and Australia, and owns a trademark for the word “BUGATTI” in Australia.
An Australian company (Shine Forever Men) operates a retail outlet in Melbourne named BUGATCHI UOMO, and imported a range of clothing under the trademark BUGATCHI UOMO (first devised in Canada and used since 1976).
The court found that BUGATCHI and BUGATCHI UOMO were deceptively similar to “Bugatti”, that Shine Forever Men “used” the trademark, and that there was a real danger of consumers being confused as a result of the visual and aural similarity between the two marks, which would cause them to wonder whether the products come from the same source.
Bugatti has foreshadowed that it will seek injunctive relief, damages or an account of profits plus interest and costs when the matter returns to court.
The case (Bugatti GmbH v Shine Forever Men Pty Ltd  FCA 1116) is available at: http://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2013/2013fca1116
If you think that someone else’s trade mark is too close to yours or your trade mark is too close to someone else’s, contact Priscilla Blackadder at Simpsons Solicitors for advice.