The IPKAT reports a decision of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities (CFI). The Community Trademark Board of Appeal decided in September 2001 that BASS (footwear and clothing) and PASH (leather goods and clothing, belts, footwear and headgear) were confusingly similar. The matter came before the CFI in another connection, but the CFI also annulled the decision:
bq. The CFI also annulled the substance of the Boards decision, holding that BASS and PASH were not similar enough to lead to a likelihood of confusion between the two parties goods. While visually the two marks had the same number of letters and same two central letters, the public were not more likely to focus on the central letters than any of the other letters and the similarity between the letters B and P was limited. Aurally, though B and P are pronounced very similarly in some regions of Germany and the only vowel contained in both signs was identical and even though sh sound is not used in German, a sufficient part of the German public was familiar enough with the pronunciation of English words ending in sh that they would not mispronounce PASH as pass. Conceptually, BASS called to mind the voice of a singer of musical instrument while PASH was likely to be associated with the German dice game Pasch.
Well, the Franconians tend to refer to B and P as ‘soft B’ and ‘hard B’.