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'Frank Miura' watches just keep on ticking off Franck Muller

Osaka watchmaker wins trademark case as Supreme Court dismisses appeal

Frank Miura watches, a parody line playing off Swiss brand Franck Muller.

TOKYO -- "Frank Miura" will live to vex Swiss luxury watchmaker Franck Muller another day.

The Osaka company behind the Miura brand -- whose name and product design play on Muller's -- won the right to keep its trademark last April at Japan's Intellectual Property High Court. Muller appealed to the Supreme Court, whose First Petty Bench rejected the appeal Thursday.

Last year's ruling found that even though the Frank Miura name sounds similar to "Franck Muller," the watches' "appearances are clearly distinguishable." The judge also noted that Mullers often cost more than 1 million yen ($8,786), while Miuras fall in the range of 4,000 yen to 6,000 yen, making the two lines difficult to confuse.

The Miura trademark was registered in 2012, but the Japan Patent Office invalidated the trademark in response to complaints from Muller. The Osaka watchmaker challenged this decision in the intellectual property court in the case that led to the April 2016 judgment.

(Nikkei)

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