Interchangeable marks

If your trademark is too similar to someone else's right, it cannot be registered.

How is the risk of confusion assessed?

When the Norwegian Patent and Trademark Office assesses whether two marks are likely to be confused, we assess whether the marks are similar to each other and whether the marks apply to similar goods/services. The decisive factor is whether the consumer will be able to mistake the brands in a buying situation or believe that the products come from the same manufacturer. We only consider whether the trademark can be confused with already registered trademarks. We do not investigate whether the trademark can be confused with other company names, other business characteristics or unregistered, incorporated trademark rights.

Owners of such signs can, however, make an objection, which the Patent Office must take into account, and which may result in a refusal or the trademark being deleted.

Similar characteristics

When assessing whether two characteristics are similar, we decide on:

  • whether the marks look similar visually

  • whether the brands sound similar when pronounced

  • whether the brands give similar associations

We also decide how distinctive the older brand is. If someone sticks closely to a very special brand, it doesn't take much for consumers to mistake the brands.

On the other hand, two weaker brands will more often be able to coexist. For example, we do not believe that consumers would mistake the brands KNASKEBRØD and HOLIDAY BREAD, applied for baked goods, just because the brands have the word BRØD in common.

– When you want to gain entry into an open market, the name is one of the most important tools you have. It is the name that will distinguish you from the competition, and that can give the desired identity or profile.

Jacob Calmeyer

Former communications advisor at the Swedish Patent Board


Jacob Calmeyer

Former communications advisor at the Swedish Patent Board

Similar goods or services

When assessing whether the marks apply to similar goods and services, we take a position on a number of different considerations. We consider, for example, whether the relevant goods or services:

  • have the same purpose
  • sold through the same channels
  • are in competition with each other
  • and a number of other, relevant considerations

The goods and services for which a mark is registered are placed in a class system of 45 classes. Each class has a heading that basically describes the types of goods and services included in this class.

We use a tool called a "cross-examination list" when we assess whether goods and services included in different classes are similar.

Please note the following:

  • Any similarity between goods in the same class does not appear in the cross-examination list.
  • The list is not exhaustive, it is only indicative.

Examples of confusion

LP logo.png
Searched for watches, case number t-530/21
LPLP logo.png
Already registered for watches

The marks apply to the same goods, namely watches.

  • Visual similarity: Both marks will be perceived as consisting of the letters P and L, placed on top of each other.
  • Pronunciation similarity : Both will be read as PL or LP.
  • Image : In this case, the letters do not convey any specific image. The representation thus speaks neither for nor against confusion.

Result : Risk of confusion.

Applied for wine, case number T-366/20
Searched for alcoholic beverages

The goods "wine" and "alcoholic beverages" are the same, and the marks therefore apply to the same goods.

  • Visual similarity: Visually, there are clear similarities between the ways in which the circles are designed.
  • Similarity in pronunciation: Since the similarity consists in a figure element, the marks cannot be compared in terms of pronunciation.
  • Imaginary image : The marks give similar imaginal images, as both show a circular brushstroke of roughly the same thickness and shape.
  • The text ORIGIUM 1944 in the oldest is understood as information that the wine producer started its business in 1944, and does not prevent confusion.

Result: Risk of confusion.

CEON logo.png
Application registered for computer equipment and various computer programs, case number LB-2023-9016
Xeon wordmark.png
Registered for i.a. computer equipment and various computer programs

The marks apply to the same goods.

  • Visual similarity: The marks have visual differences through the use of different letters; X and C, as well as the letter E, are designed in a special way.
  • Similarity in pronunciation: The brands will be pronounced exactly the same, namely SEON, which creates a large degree of similarity.
  • Imaginary image : Neither CEON nor XEON means anything, and the brands thus create no imaginal images that can prevent confusion.

Result: Risk of confusion (because the brands will be pronounced exactly the same).


If someone has a trademark that is confusingly similar to yours, you can contact the owner and ask for consent to register your trademark.

Is the brand available?

You cannot get your trademark registered if it infringes someone else's right to a trademark, company name or other business characteristic.

When the Norwegian Patent Office receives a trademark application, we investigate whether the trademark can be confused with already registered trademarks. If this is the case, we must reject the application.

  • For you as an applicant, this means that someone else is standing in the way of you being able to obtain a trademark right
  • For those who already have a right, this is a protection against others registering a trademark that is too close to theirs

Check for yourself whether the trademark is available in our trademark register.

We are happy to help you in the process

Get an overview of the possibilities available to you, and how you should proceed to apply. The Norwegian Industrial Property Office's experts have extensive experience and know what to think about.

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