Likelihood of Confusion

News & Analysis as of

Sonic v. Supersonic Coffee v. AKA Coffee: Bullied to a better brand?

A specialty coffee roastery in San Francisco, Supersonic Coffee, has decided to rebrand to the name AKA Coffee, as reported yesterday. The impetus for the rebrand was an opposition at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board...more

Supplemental Registrations – Actually Worth a Hill of (Coffee) Beans

The potential defensive value of a registration on the Supplemental Register is highlighted in a recent opinion of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, In re Morinaga Nyugyo Kabushiki Kaisha. While we often think of...more

To Search or Not to Search

Inditex – the parent company of fashion giant Zara – sued a small New York-based brand over the use of the mark Zara Terez (“ZT”). Zara Terez was launched in 2008 by friends Zara Terez Tisch and Amanda Schabes. The complaint...more

Trademark satire is no joke to the City of Atlanta

Check out this City of Atlanta Facebook page. The funny thing is that it’s not run by the City of Atlanta. Although the posts are titled “City of Atlanta” and use the City’s official seal, the page consists of satirical...more

The Trademark Board Cancels the Trademark Registration for HOPNOTIC Beer

In another disappointment to the beer brewing industry, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board canceled a trademark registration for the mark HOPNOTIC for beer on the basis that it is confusingly similar to liquor brand...more

Supplemental Register Gets Nod from Trademark Trial & Appeal Board

On September 8, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board lent support to the strength of a registration on the Supplemental Register, indicating that it is worthwhile to pursue federal registration, even if that means your mark...more

A Common Cue Creates No Confusion

Cue, Inc. sells high-end home audio equipment (e.g., table radios and speakers). In 2007, it applied to register the trademark CUE ACOUSTICS, and in late 2009 the USPTO allowed its application. Cue’s CUE ACOUSTICS mark was...more

Circuit to District Court: Pucker Up for a Remand

Addressing the application of the Sleekcraft likelihood-of-confusion factors in the context of a summary judgment motion, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment,...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Summer 2016

Supreme Court Expands Discretion to Award Enhanced Damages for Patent Infringement and Eliminates the Federal Circuit’s ‘Seagate Test’ - In Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court...more

The Zero Sum Game In The Cola Wars

In Royal Crown Company and Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc v The Coca-Cola Company, Opposition 91178927, each party opposed the other’s trademark applications containing the term ZERO for soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks....more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Wine, Vodka and a Little Karaoke

Copyright Opinions - Eleventh Circuit Seeks Florida High Court's Guidance on Pre-1972 Sound Recordings: Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc., No. 15-13100 (11th Cir. June 29, 2016) - Anderson, J. In a suit...more

Nutrition Consulting Firm Sues Gatorade Over “SportsFuel” Trademark

SportsFuel, Inc., a nutrition consulting firm outside of Chicago, has filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary The Gatorade Company over the SPORTSFUEL trademark. SportsFuel owns...more

Miss Trademark USA: Beauty Pageant Naming Disputes

Just this month, two disputes over the trademark rights to beauty pageant names were resolved, pending appeal. In World Pageants LLC v. Miss G-String International LLC, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) dismissed...more

Not What the Doctor Ordered: Injunction Ruled Too Narrow in Trademark Infringement Case

Addressing the scope of injunctive relief awarded in a trademark infringement case, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a district court’s finding of a likelihood of confusion, but vacated, reversed and...more

Raise a Glass to the Single Dispositive DuPont Factor

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) reiterating its determination that a single DuPont factor, such as the dissimilarity of the marks, can be...more

Trademark Review | July 2016

Applicant’s Claim of Secondary Meaning in MINIMELTS Melts Down Before the Board - Mini Melts opposed Reckitt’s intent-to-use applications for “MINI-MELTS” and “MINIMELTS,” alleging a likelihood of confusion with its own...more

Can You Identify Your Trade Dress?

Trade dress is a type of trademark intellectual property right that can protect almost any unique identifying aesthetic design used by a company, from the shape of a product, to the appearance of a website, to the decor of a...more

The Pleads Of The Many: 50 Years of Star Trek Lawsuits

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of the original series of Star Trek, which first aired on NBC in September 1966. On July 22, this milestone will be marked in earnest when Paramount Pictures releases...more

Standard Character Trademark Overbreadth

When we hear the word “overbreadth” in close connection with the word “trademark,” the often discussed “trademark bullying” topic will frequently come to mind. Yet, discussions about “trademark overbreadth” are not...more

Certification Mark May Be Infringed Despite Nominative Fair Use, Lack of Source Confusion

Addressing the use of a certification mark in connection with information systems training, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed and remanded a district court grant of summary judgment for the defendants on...more

TTAB Precedential Decision: Time Limit for Adding Claims Is Tolled by Filing of Cancellation Within Registration’s Fifth...

In a precedential decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) held that the filing of a cancellation petition before the five-year anniversary mark of a registration tolls Trademark Act Section 14 for purposes of...more

Empire State Building Trademark Owner Vanquishes Beer Logo Design

Can you trademark a building design? You can if the building in question is the Empire State Building. In the film classic King Kong, the iconic art deco building is the site of a titanic battle between Kong and the military...more

A Duel Over DUO Leaves Only Uno

The never-ending battle at the Trademark Office over trademarks for beer and wine suffered another casualty last week, this time over the mark DUO. Applicant Uinta Brewing Company filed a use-based application to register...more

MAYA And MAYARI Are Not Confusingly Similar When Used On Wine

The Federal Circuit has upheld the findings of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that use of the marks MAYA and MAYARI on wine is not likely to cause confusion. Oakville Hills Cellar, Inc. vs. Georgallis Holdings, LLC,...more

Trademark Review | June 2016

Coca-Cola has Acquired Secondary Meaning in ZERO for Colas - In an opposition proceeding before the TTAB, Royal Crown (RC) and Dr. Pepper/Seven Up sought to prevent registration of seventeen applications filed by...more

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