Trademark for NACHOS loses distinctiveness
The Colombian PTO (SIC) has cancelled the registered word trademark NACHOS, belonging to FERRIS ENTERPRISES CORP, alleging that there is evidence that show that consumers associate the expression “Nachos” with food and not with a trademark identifying a defined commercial origin.
Among the evidence filed by Marta Cecilia Méndez Salazar with the cancellation action, were the results of a market survey carried out in 2014 by the consultancy “Marketing Time,” (Tiempo de Mercadeo) in which 350 people were asked the question: Do you identify the word nachos with a type of food or with a trademark? 100 percent of the survey respondents answered that the term referred to a type of food. Additionally, Méndez Salazar filed images of several products from different companies that contain the word “Nachos” to define the products made from corn or cereal that they are selling.
In the resolution of the cancellation action, the SIC stated that the registered trademark NACHOS lacks additional nominative or graphic elements that would allow consumers to differentiate it from other trademarks in the market that currently identify nachos or corn tortillas and that contain the expression “Nachos” as an explanatory element.
After this cancellation action, companies cannot seek to have the trademark NACHOS to identify products such as nachos or corn tortillas.
This decision sets an important precedent in Colombia, as it is the second time that the SIC cancels a registered trademark due to loss of distinctiveness. The first trademark cancelled for this reason was PANETTONE, to identify bread products.