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The trademark tussle between Snow Globe and Snow concluded with the victory of Asahi Holdings UK Limited. The Applicant Asahi Holdings UK Limited applied to register the mark “Snow Globe” on February 8 2018, under the Trade Marks Act 1994. The Trade Mark Application UK 3288786 was published on March 2, 2018. The application was made for goods of class 32. Beers and non-alcoholic beers are goods of Class 32.
The China Resources Snow Brewery (LIAO NING) Company Limited opposed the application relying on its earlier registered trademarks. The earlier trademarks are namely 'Snow' with different patterns, marks and logos. The opponent claimed that the goods, marks and services of the applicants are identical and similar to their marks.
The opponent relied upon Section 6 of the Act and opposed the application under Section 5 (2) (b) of the Trade Marks Act 1994. The Court relied upon Article 15 (1) of Regulation No. 207/2009 of February 26 2009, while analysing Community Trade Mark. A Community Trade Mark is put to genuine use when it is used with its essential function and for the purpose of creating market share within the European Community.
Previously the applicant was known as Fuller Smith & Turner PLC. Through assignment dated March 30, 2019 ownership of the Applicant was assigned to The Fuller's Beer Company Limited who changed the name to Asahi UK Holdings Limited on June 5, 2019. It is a beer and soft drink company based in Tokyo, Japan.
The applicant filed a defence and counter statement denying the oppositions. The opponent withdrew its opposition related to the mark “SNOWFLAKE”. The opponent relied on other marks and opposed the applicant’s mark. The opponent started in December 2017, China resources entered into an agreement with Molson Coors granting it exclusive rights to distribute Snow beer to the UK market. The labels of beer bottles depicted the website address as snowbeer.com and UK address and telephone number. The opponent claimed that they are the biggest seller of beer amongst others by presenting an article of “Justdrinks”.
In response to this Ms Benquin, the Company Secretary of Fuller Smith &Turner PLC stated that the Applicant owns 380 pubs, inns and hotels across the South of England. The beers of their Company were sold under the mark “FULLER’s”. The name “Snow Globe” was chosen as a seasonal beer to be consumed in the month of winter. She also produced many online articles which demonstrated that Snow Beer was unknown outside China before 2017.