In a previous post , we discussed the opposition case that Mercis, the company behind Miffy, had filed against another cute bunny.
This opposition was partly allowed, but as Mercis had failed to demonstrate Miffy’s fame, the office ruled that the disputed bunny trademark could be used for sex toys. Mercis refused to take this decision lying down and filed an appeal.
The appeal court must have seen Miffy’s reputation in an entirely different light as it stated that she is extremely well known, at least in the Netherlands. Therefore, it found that Mercis had submitted sufficient proof of Miffy’s renown. The appeal division even went as far as to state that Miffy has become part of the cultural heritage of the Netherlands, a unique trademark and an "iconic masterclass in minimalism". No faint praise, indeed.
In view of Miffy’s reputation, the similarity between the trademarks, and the connection that the relevant public might make between them, the appeal appeal division found that the use of the disputed trademark for sex toys would be highly detrimental to the Miffy brand. Therefore the opposition was upheld in full and the application was rejected.
This was good news for Mercis. An additional benefit is that a superior court has acknowledged Miffy's renown in such strong terms.