The Chinese tried to register Heypod for electronics products such as earphones, smartwatches and speakers. According to EUIPO, these goods are similar to Apple’s products.
When comparing the two trademarks Pod and Heypod, the trademark office sees that Heypod clearly consists of two elements: Hey and Pod. The earlier mark, ‘Pod’, is entirely included as the second element of Heypod. The differences between the signs are the component ‘Hey’ and the figurative elements. However, this is not sufficient to counteract the similarities and exclude a likelihood of confusion, according to EUIPO. The consumer will probably perceive the contested mark as a sub-brand, a variation of the earlier mark.
The most important takeaway lesson from this case is, of course, to be careful with the word Pod when dealing with electronic products. Apple seems to have a firm grip on this word.
I wonder whether the Chinese company really pulled out all the stops in this procedure. Why didn’t they argue the position that Apple doesn’t use Pod as a standalone brand at all? The company has iPods, EarPods and AirPods, of course, but do they also use the Pod brand separately? It’s questionable whether running this argument against a serial trademark of this calibre makes sense, but at least you can try.