Published by Anwaar Katakweba

We are familiar with the term Trademark as any word, name, symbol, or design, or any combination thereof, used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from those of another and to indicate the source of the goods.

The Deputy Registrar of Trade and Service Marks addressed multiple issues regarding Trademark in The Matter of Service Mark Application No. TZ/S/2016/664 MCB BANK (and logo) in class 36 in the name of MWALIMU COMMERCIAL BANK PLC and IN THE MATTER OF OPPOSITION PROCEEDINGS IN RESPECT OF THE SERVICE MARK MCB BANK BY NMB BANK PLC (formerly NATIONAL MICROFINANCE BANK PLC) where it was ruled as follows;

·       The Applicant’s service mark “MCB BANK BETTER TOGETHER” (word and logo) is distinct and different   visually, Phonetically, and structurally from the opponent’s “NMB close to you” (word and logo) registered service marks.

·       It is well-established principle of Trademark law that, while comparing and considering a Trademark the Mark has to be seen as a whole and not in parts

·       There is no request for specification/claim of colour from both NMB PLC and Mwalimu Commercial Bank Plc hence none of them can claim exclusivity to the use of the said colors.

·       The Opponent has failed to prove loss that has been occasioned as a result of existence of the Applicant’s Trademark

Interesting background on this matter emanates from an Application made by Mwalimu Commercial Bank as the Applicant under the Trade and Service Marks Act Cap 329 for registration of a Service Mark “MCB BANK BETTER TOGETHER” under class 36 in respect of Banking services whereas this was Opposed by NMB Bank PLC to the effect that “MCB Bank” which consisted of letters “MB” appearing in Blue colors, so much resembles their marks “NMB” orange and blue colors developed since 1997 and if Application is granted, it will to a large extent cause confusion and deceive customers which will result into damage and serious detriment to Opponent’s services and businesses and they will likely to suffer irreparable loss.

It was the final decision of the matter that the Application that there is no similarity between the marks and no likelihood of confusion either thus the Application allowed to proceed with registration.


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