Does the consumer read this as Hyundai?


Vertical bars

According to the Board, in this highly stylized brand, the consumer does not read letters but only sees vertical bars of different heights, two of which have dots. The public would have to go through a “very imaginative cognitive process” to decipher this image as Hyundai. The Board states that consumers do not engage in such deep analyses. Therefore, there is no trademark infringement. Well, it’s tricky. Now that I know it can be seen as Hyundai, I can’t unsee it. But would I have read it that way without any prior knowledge? I don’t know.

Trademark registration of Sony does not provide protection for the letters GT.

Much effort

It happens quite often, procedures at the European trademark office concerning what the consumer will read in a trademark. For instance, based on the logo above, Sony unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the registration of the wordmark GT Racing. According to the European Court in 2021, the consumer would have to exert a lot of effort to read a G and a T in these characters.

Totto Totu
No infringement on Totto because the consumer does not read it as Totu.


Totto vs Totu

The same happened to the trademark Totto in 2020. According to Totto, it’s easy to recognize the new brand of a Chinese trading company as TOTU, which is too close to Totto. However, the Court rejected this argument as well. The consumer will primarily perceive those red dots as elements separating the black lines rather than as part of a capital letter T.

Voorbeelden Hyundai
IJTI, KIO, FLY, and Blink are not recognized in these logos according to the European court.


Not recognized

On the IPKat website, Marcel Pemsel provides a few more interesting examples: according to the European court, the above-mentioned brands are simply seen as logos and not recognized as IJTI, KIO, FLY, and Blink. With the exception of the last one (I do read the word Blink immediately there), I understand these rulings.

Hyundai voorbeelden


Here in the office, we could also come up with a few fun logos that likely wouldn’t provide protection for the wordmark they represent upon registration. What about Kia, Vaio, and Odido? If Odido were to go on the offensive against another trademark that resembles the word Odido, the trademark registration of the Odido logo would be insufficient to take action. It would be quite a feat for anyone to read Odido in that logo.

Registering a Word Mark

But as a trademark owner, what should you do with this now? In any case, if you use such a rather difficult to decipher logo, make sure that – in addition to the trademark registration of this logo – you also register the word mark. And of course Odido did that too, so there is little to worry about. Does anyone know of any other nice examples of difficult-to-decipher logos? Please send them to

Bas Kist