The Tokyo High Court has ruled that transport firm Aramaki Unyu Co. is entitled to use the image of the Kewpie doll as its trademark, nullifying a decision made in March by the Patent Office, company officials said Thursday.
In March, the Patent Office invalidated Aramaki Unyu’s right to use the trademark for its moving operations, following a request filed by Q.P. Corp.
The latter is a Tokyo-based mayonnaise and dressing maker that also has the Kewpie doll image registered as its trademark.
Q.P. asked the office in October 2002 to invalidate Aramaki Unyu’s right to use the trademark, asserting that most Japanese people associate the Kewpie doll image with Q.P. mayonnaise and would therefore mistakenly think Aramaki Unyu’s operations are affiliated with Q.P.
Presiding Judge Motoaki Kitayama said in handing down Wednesday’s ruling that the Kewpie doll had become popular in Japan before World War II and that the image could not be associated with one company.
“Banks and major companies are using very similar registered trademarks,” he said.
Aramaki Unyu, based in the western Tokyo suburb of Chofu, registered the Kewpie doll image as its trademark around 1978.
It launched its moving operations using trucks painted with a Kewpie doll holding luggage in both hands. The image of Q.P.’s Kewpie doll has its arms raised.
“We are very glad to be able to continue using the image,” according to a spokesman for Aramaki Unyu. “The Kewpie doll has long been loved by the public, and it is not right for its image to be monopolized.”
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