Intellectual property information

Introduction to trademark rulings regarding illustrations on T-shirts

Introduction to trademark rulings regarding illustrations on T-shirts
- Reiwa 3 (Wa) No. 10991 Damage Claim Case (September 2023, 9) -

(Plaintiff: Trademark owner) Fathom Co., Ltd. / (Defendant) Stripe International Co., Ltd.

Judgment summary


Regarding the defendant's mark (illustration) attached to T-shirts sold by the defendant, the copyright nature of the plaintiff's illustration, whether there is copyright infringement on the plaintiff's illustration, whether the defendant's mark can be used as a trademark, and the trademark rights of the plaintiff's merchant. Cases where the presence or absence of infringement was disputed.

Defendant mark (defendant illustration)

defendant product

plaintiff trademark
(Plaintiff illustration 1)

Plaintiff illustration 2

Plaintiff product

Plaintiff's illustration 2 was recognized as a copyrighted work, and the defendant's illustration was determined to infringe on the right to adaptation and the right to maintain identity.

・Plaintiff Illustration 2 was found to have aesthetic characteristics that make it an object of art appreciation, separate from the functional structure necessary to achieve the practical purpose of the T-shirt.

- Plaintiff Illustration 2 and Defendant Illustration have five common points in terms of specific expressions, and since it is difficult to imagine that all of them coincide by chance, reliance is accepted, which constitutes an infringement of adaptation rights, and from Plaintiff Illustration 2. It was determined that the right to integrity was infringed as alterations were allowed.

It was determined that there was a risk of confusion between the plaintiff's trademark and the defendant's mark.

・The defendant's mark is different in appearance between the image and the text, it is not recognized that there is any conceptual relationship, and it is not recognized that any appellation is created as a unit; It cannot be recognized that they are so inseparably connected that it would be unnatural in terms of transactions to observe them separately.

・The picture part accounts for approximately 80% of the defendant's trademark, and is drawn large in the center and painted in bright colors. On the other hand, the characters are in European characters, and are not words that are familiar in everyday life. In this case, since the picture part gives a strong and dominant impression as a source identification mark, it would be permissible to extract only the picture part and judge whether it is similar to the plaintiff's trademark.

・Although there are several differences between the plaintiff's trademark and the defendant's mark, a woman in a bikini wearing black sunglasses and shoes is lying face down on a beach mat floating on the water, below her knees. The legs of the screen are bent toward the back, and the head is positioned toward the back of the screen, giving a common impression to consumers (the appearance is similar). Also, the concept is the same in both cases: ``a woman lying on a beach mat floating on the water.'' Taking all of the above into account, there is a risk of misunderstanding and confusion.

The use of the defendant's mark was found to fall under trademark use.

[How the defendant uses it] Large print in the center of the chest

■ Defendant's claim The defendant's mark was used in a manner that did not serve to identify its source or other products.

■Court judgment■ It is recognized that the trademark is not only displayed on the back of the neck of a T-shirt or on a tag, but also exists on many products with a large mark on the chest.(Facts salient to this court)In light ofIt cannot be immediately acknowledged that consumers recognize the source of the defendant's products from the name printed on the back of the neck of the T-shirt or the paper tag.Therefore, even with all the evidence in this case, the facts of the defendant's assertion cannot be accepted.




Applicability of trademark use

装飾的な表示について、ポパイ・アンダーシャツ事件(大阪地裁S51/02/24:S49(ワ)393)のように商標的使用が否定された判決は複数存在するものの、本判決やH25(ワ)27442,34269 判決(東京地裁H26/11/11)のように、その表示の態様の実情等が考慮された場合には、商標的使用に該当すると判断され得る。

In particular, in this judgment, it was recognized as a remarkable fact that there are many products with the trademark affixed large on the chest, so we believe that this will have a significant impact on future decisions regarding trademark use. .


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