DNBC is a Vietnamese online bank. Last summer, the bank relocated to Amsterdam. DNB, the Dutch central bank, stated they were unhappy with the arrival of a bank called DNBC. It’s confusing, and it infringes our trademark rights to the name DNB, according to the Dutch bank. In addition, DNBC also promotes ‘offshore accounts in tax havens’, which damages our reputation, according to DNB.
DNBC must stop immediately
As expected, the curtain fell for DNBC on October 20. The court in Amsterdam entirely agreed with DNB and, threatening enormous penalties, determined that DNBC must stop using this name within seven days. I don’t think anyone, except maybe some people at the Vietnamese bank, fell from their seats in amazement.
At Chiever, we often use a database in which you can find European decisions about trademarks. In this case, we started looking for comparable cases: conflicts between trademarks in which the first three letters are the same, and only one letter was added. In 2022, it resulted in a total of 12 decisions: without exception, all were considered trademark infringements.
The DNB vs DNBC conflict fits neatly into this series. You might say that DNBC could have performed a similar check. Then they would have been able to estimate their chances in this matter a little better.