chapter  9
10 Pages

Three-dimensional shape of Coca-Cola bottles registrable

Acquired distinctiveness evidenced by questionnaire in Japan
WithYoshiyuki Tamura

The three-dimensional (3D) shape of goods was found to be registrable as a trademark in light of the results of questionnaire surveys and other related factors. On July 2, 2003, an application for registration of a 3D trademark, which is the bottle of Coca Cola, was filed with the designated goods “cola drinks” in Class 32. The intellectual property High Court’s judgments in the present Coca-Cola case, as well as the aforementioned Maglite case, were landmark decisions in practice. Nevertheless, the precedents before the Maglite case and the present Coca-Cola case set quite a high threshold for registering 3D shapes of goods. In the surveys, 81% of the respondents in the first central location test, 73.3% in the second central location test and 60.3% in a Web survey recalled the goods as from the “Coca-Cola” brand. The Maglite case and the Coca-Cola case were quite correct in rejecting such high thresholds.