A Horse-Drawn Trademark Collision Ahead?


Little did I know that my temporary holiday-season addiction to the QuizUp Logos game would giddyup another blog post regarding non-verbal logo similarity.

The pair of logos above identify, distinguish, and indicate the source of two famous luxury brands, can you name them correctly? Fashionista noted the similarity some time ago, here.

Despite the clear differences between the side-by-side logos: opposite directions of horse-drawn carriage, covered versus open carriage, standing versus seated driver, top hat and duck tail versus none, and driver’s whip versus none, among others, I mixed up which logo actually is associated with which brand more than a few times.

To the extent you need assistance as well, Hermes is on the left and Coach is on the right, and here are the full logos with verbal elements included so as to avoid any possible confusion:


It is notable that Coach does not own and it doesn’t appear Coach or any predecessors ever tried to federally-register the non-verbal element of its horse-drawn carriage logo, do you suppose the principles set forth in Section 1207.01(c) of the TMEP explain why?

“When the marks at issue are both design marks, the similarity of the marks must be decided primarily on the basis of visual similarity. E.g., In re Vienna Sausage Mfg. Co., 16 USPQ2d 2044, 2047 (TTAB 1990). In this situation, consideration must be given to the fact that the marks usually will not be viewed side-by-side in the marketplace and a purchaser’s recollection of design marks is often of a general, rather than specific, nature; thus the marks may be confusingly similar despite differences between them. See, e.g., In re United Serv. Distribs., Inc., 229 USPQ 237 (TTAB 1986) (holding mark consisting of a design featuring silhouettes of a man and woman, used in connection with distributorship services in the field of health and beauty aids, and mark consisting of a design featuring silhouettes of a man and woman, used in connection with skin cream, likely to cause confusion).”

Do you suppose it also explains why Wells Fargo is able to federally-register the horse-drawn stagecoach non-verbal logo standing alone while Grupo Bimbo links its horse-drawn stagecoach logo to the Thomas’ English Muffin word mark and other trade dress elements?

After all, both are closely related to bread, right?

Just having a little fun to start off the New Year, Happy New Year to all!

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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