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On May 24, 2018, the USPTO issued "Examination Guidance for Compliance with Section 2(a)’s Scandalousness Provision While Constitutionality Remains in Question during Period to Petition for Certiorari to U.S. Supreme Court" (pdf ). In short, applications that receive a "scandalous or immoral" refusal under Section 2(a) will be (or will remain) suspended pending the final outcome of the "FUCT" case, In re Brunetti.


You will recall that the CAFC reversed the Board's decision in Brunetti, which had found the mark FUCT to be unregistrable under Section 2(a). [TTABlogged ]. The CAFC denied re-hearing on April 12, 2018. The current deadline for the USPTO to file a petition for a writ of certiorari is July 11, 2018.

Any current or future suspension of an application based on the scandalousness provision of Section 2(a) will remain in place until either: (a) the time for filing a petition for certiorari in Brunetti (including any extensions granted) expires, with no petition being filed; or (b) if a petition for certiorari is filed, the later of (1) denial of certiorari or (2) termination of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings in the case. Thereafter, the USPTO will determine whether additional suspension or procedural guidance is needed. If not, examining attorneys will take appropriate action in each case and proceed accordingly.


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TTABlog comment: Will the USPTO petition? I doubt it.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The USPTO refused registration of the mark GAVIOTA, in standard character form, for “Luxury bathroom faucets; Water control valves for bathroom faucets; Plumbing fittings, namely, spouts for bathroom fixtures; Tub Spouts; Shower Heads; Handles for shower faucets; Plumbing fittings, namely, [and] shower control valves,” on the ground of likely confusion with the registered mark SEAGULL for "water purification units and parts thereof." The Examining Attorney maintained that "gaviota" is Spanish for "seagull." Applicant argued that the goods are unrelated and that consumers would understand its mark as referring to the southern California beach town of Gaviota and to the famous Gaviota State Park. How do you think this appeal came out? , Serial No. 87029512 (June 11, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Thomas Shaw). [Corrected opinion issued June 20, 2018].


The Goods: Examining Attorney Louis Kolodner introduced third-party registrations and website pages to show that the involved goods are offered under the same mark. Additional evidence showed that water purification units (including Registrant's) include faucets and shower heads. Applicant pointed to the limitation of its goods to bathroom fixtures, but the Board was unmoved: registrant's goods are not limited to "producing water in a kitchen," as applicant asserted. The Board therefore found the goods to be related.

There were no limitations in the application or registration as to price of the goods, channels of trade, or classes of consumers. Both applicant's and registrant's goods are sold online and at similar price points, suggesting that the channels of trade and classes of purchasers are similar.


The Marks: Applicant's mark GAVIOTA means "seagull" in English. The record showed that Spanish is the most common foreign language spoken in the United States. Therefore the doctrine of foreign equivalents applied.

Applicant contended that the doctrine does not apply because GAVIOTA has another meaning: "the word 'GAVIOTA' predominantly refers to the southern California beach town of Gaviota, California, and the famous Gaviota State Park, as well as other tourist attractions in the Gaviota area." However, the evidence did not demonstrate that the Gaviota region or the town is well known outside of Southern California. Moreover, the record indicated that "Gaviota State Park takes its name from the Spanish word for seagull, given to the area by soldiers of the Portola Expedition who supposedly killed a seagull while camping here in 1769."

Applicant’s evidence does not establish that the alternate geographic meaning would be understood by the relevant purchasing public. Rather, given the large number of Spanish speakers in the United States and the fact that consumers who know of the Gaviota region also might know that it derives its name from the Spanish word for “seagull,” we find it likely that these Spanish speakers would “stop and translate” GAVIOTA into its English equivalent, SEAGULL.

The Board acknowledged that the application of the doctrine of foreign equivalents is only part of the analysis, since the similarity in connotation "must be weighed against the dissimilarity in appearance, sound, and all other factors, before reaching a conclusion on likelihood of confusion as to source." Noting that "seagull" is a direct translation of "gaviota," and that SEAGULL is arbitrary for the involved goods and thus a conceptually strong mark, the Board concluded that these factors outweighed the dissimilarities in appearance and sound.

Consumer sophistication: As stated above, there were no limitations in the involved application and cited registration as to classes of purchasers, and so the Board must consider all normal classes of consumers. The involved goods are sold online and therefore purchasers may include consumers who are not design or construction professionals. The Board must make its decision in light of the "least sophisticated potential purchasers, which may be ordinary consumers exercising only an ordinary degree of care." Moreover, even careful or sophisticated consumers are not immune to source confusion when similar marks are used for related goods.

Conclusion: The Board found confusion likely, and so it affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.

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TTABlog comment: The Board also affirmed the requirement that applicant submit an English translation of its mark, which applicant failed to do. See Rule 2.32(a)(9).

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






Hitting the is a good thing, right? Don't bet on it. Applicant Trilliant was hit with a "trifusal" (TM The TTABlog), in its application to register the mark NRG (in standard character form) for "coffee for use in single-serve brewing machines" [COFFEE disclaimed]. The Board found the mark (1) likely to cause confusion with the mark shown immediately below, registered for "coffee and tea," (2) merely descriptive of the goods, and alternatively (3) deceptively misdescriptive of the goods under Section 2(e)(1). , Serial No. 86850804 (June 1, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Susan J. Hightower).


Likelihood of Confusion: The goods of the cited registration encompass applicant's more narrowly identified goods. Extensive evidence of third-party use (e.g., Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts) submitted by Examining Attorney Maureen Dall Lott, along with 17 use-based third-party registrations, demonstrated that "the goods are of a type that may emanate from a single source under the same mark."

Applicant Trilliant argued that "ENERGY" and variations thereof are weak formatives for coffee-related products, but its evidence did not meet the "voluminous" standard of Jack Wolfskin and Juice Generation. The Board found, however, that because of the meaning of "energy" in relation to coffee, the strength of the cited marks is "somewhat limited and the mark is entitled to a relatively narrow scope of protection."

As to the marks, since the goods are legally identical a lesser degree of similarity between the marks is necessary to support a finding of likely confusion. Trilliant did not dispute that NRG is "an abbreviation for energy." The Board found that consumers would be "highly likely to view and verbalize both NRG, the lead term in Applicant’s mark, and the cited mark identically to the phonetically equivalent term “"energy."

The Board agreed with applicant that the marks are visually distinguishable, but Trilliant's lightning bold design "underscores rather than alters the overall impression of the cited mark." Moreover, the literal portion of a word + design mark is given more weight in the likelihood of confusion analysis because it is the part to be verbalized and used by consumers to call for the goods.

Observing that "even a 'weak' mark is entitled to protection against a confusingly similar mark for legally identical goods," the Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.

Mere Descriptiveness: In response to the Examining Attorney's inquiries, applicant stated that "[t]he goods may contain energy-boosting ingredients such as guarana and ginseng," and it submitted third-party materials for "similar goods," which materials showed the use of the term "energy" to describe the goods. The Examining Attorney submitted additional examples of third-party use. The Board concluded that:

to the extent that Applicant’s “coffee for use in single-serve brewing machines” contains energy-boosting ingredients, each term constituting Applicant’s mark is descriptive and retains its descriptive significance in combination. NRG COFFEE, considered as a whole, thus forms a composite that is itself merely descriptive of coffee with energy-boosting ingredients.

Deceptive Misdescriptiveness: "To the extent Applicant’s goods do not feature energy-boosting ingredients, NRG COFFEE misdescribes those goods." The Board found it plausible that consumers would believe that NRG COFFEE contains energy-boosting ingredients. Therefore the Board affirmed the alternative Section 2(e)(1) refusal.

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TTABlog comment: After the appeal was filed, the application was remanded to the Examining Attorney, who then entered the Section 2(e)(1) refusals. For some reason, applicant did not address those refusals in a supplemental appeal brief.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The Board sustained an opposition to registration of the mark SCOTTSDALE TAXI for "taxi transport" services [TAXI disclaimed], finding the mark to be "highly geographically descriptive" and lacking in acquired distinctiveness. Despite applicant's use of the alleged mark since 1994, its evidence of advertising and extent of use was inadequate and it failed to prove substantially exclusive use. , Opposition No. 91218718 (June 14, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge David Mermelstein).


Geographical Descriptiveness: In order to overcome the USPTO's refusal to register under Section 2(e)(2), applicant claimed acquired distinctiveness under Section 2(f), based solely on five years of consecutive and substantially exclusive use. Applicant thus conceded that its mark is primarily geographically descriptive and not inherently distinctive.

The Board found it readily apparent that Scottsdale, Arizona is a "is the name of a place known generally to the public." Applicant's customers would immediately make a goods/place association, because the customers and Applicant are located there, and because the services are provided there. The inclusion of the word TAXI "will not obviate a refusal under Trademark Act § 2(e)(2) if the mark as a whole retains its primarily geographic significance."

The Board concluded that the applied-for mark "is highly geographically descriptive, and that Applicant bears a commensurately high burden to prove that it has acquired distinctiveness."

Acquired Distinctiveness: Although applicant has used the term SCOTTSDALE TAXI since 1994, its evidence regarding the nature and extent of use was meager. Applicant established that it listed its business in telephone directories prior to 2008 but it failed to provide any other evidence of promotion of the term. After 2008, applicant established a website and created social media pages, but applicant provided no evidence as to how many potential customers were exposed to these efforts. Advertising expenditures were a paltry $3000 per year. Not enough, said the Board.

Moreover, opposer's evidence showed that others used the term "Scottsdale taxi" in advertising their taxi transport services. The Board concluded that applicant's use of the applied-for mark was not substantially exclusive, and that relevant consumers are not likely to view the term as a source indicator.

Applicant contended that opposer's use of the term was causing actual confusion, but the Board deemed such confusion irrelevant, observing that by choosing a highly descriptive phrase applicant ran the risk that confusion would result when competitors legitimately used the phrase to describe their own businesses. See, e.g., KP Permanent Make-Up Inc. v. Lasting Impression I Inc., 543 U.S. 111, 72 USPQ2d 1933, 1938 (2004).

Equitable Defense: Applicant argued that opposer's business behavior constituted unclean hands, but the Board declined to apply that defense (regardless of applicant's allegations) because the public interest is not served by allowing registration of primarily geographically descriptive terms.

Conclusion: The Board found that applicant failed to meet its burden to demonstrate that SCOTTSDALE TAXI has acquired distinctiveness for its services, and so the opposition was sustained.

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TTABlog comment: Applicant improperly use the R-in-circle symbol in a cease-and-desist letter to opposer, bu the Board found that to be an honest mistake that caused no harm to opposer.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






Thank you Ted Davis for allowing me to post a link () to your 2018 outline of trademark decisions. The outline (59 pages) covers both federal court litigation and many TTAB cases. Thanks also to all of you who attended yesterday's Annual Review session in Seattle.


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Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






Here's the scoop. In a brief nine-page opinion, the Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal of the mark PRETTY PLEASE WITH CHERRY ON TOP? for "Ice cream; ice cream bars; ice cream desserts; ice cream sandwiches; ice cream cones," finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the registered mark PRETTY PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ... for "ice cream." Applicant Hy-Vee argued that the cited mark was weak in view of third-party usage, but the Board was unimpressed. , Serial No. 87222634 (May 30, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Cynthia C. Lynch).


Since the involved goods are in part identical, the Board must presume that they travel in the same channels of trade to the same classes of consumers. This not only weighs heavily in favor of a finding of likely confusion, but it also reduces the degree of similarity between the marks that is necessary to support the Section 2(d) refusal.

In its attempt to show that the cited mark is commercially weak, Hy-Vee cited three items: a Yelp entry for a "Cherry on Top" ice cream and yogurt shop in Lincoln, Nebraska;  a webpage from Carnival.com referring to a candy shop called "Cherry on Top;" and an article and recipe for "Pretty Please with Cherry on Top" cupcakes. The Board found that this meager evidence fell short of establishing that the cited mark is weak.

The Board noted that only one of the three items included the entirety of the cited mark, and only one refers to ice cream. More importantly, there was no evidence of the extent of consumer exposure to these uses. This evidence was "far less voluminous and compelling" than that in Jack Wolfskin and Juice Generation

This record may indicate some degree of suggestiveness of CHERRY ON TOP, but is insufficient to show that the cited mark is weak. Regardless, even suggestive marks are entitled to appropriate protection against the registration of confusingly similar marks.

Turning to the marks, the Board found their connotations and commercial impressions to be essentially the same. As to look and sound, the differences in the marks are "relatively insignificant." In sum, the marks are very similar, and this factor weighed heavily toward a likelihood of confusion.

The Board therefore found that confusion is likely and it affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.

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TTABlog comment: Is this a WYHA?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The USPTO refused registration of the mark OXZGEN for "[n]on-metal dosing caps for bottles; non-metal dispensing caps for containers," on the ground that applicant's specimens of use (below) failed to show the mark in use with the identified goods. Applicant appealed, arguing that the specimens show "normal packaging" for its goods, that such is the normal "mode of use," and that the mark on the container "functions as a label or tag since it would be impractical to put the mark on the actual dispensing cap." How do you think this came out? Serial No. 86586432 (May 30, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Angela Lykos).


The Board recognized that when it is impracticable to place the mark on the goods, the packaging for the goods, or associated displays, the USPTO may accept another document related to the goods or their sale. The TMEP provides several examples of situations of such "impracticability": natural gas, grain sold in bulk, or chemicals sold only in tanker cars. 

Applicant's goods, the Board observed, "are in no way analogous" to natural gas, grain sold in bulk, or chemicals sold in tanker cars. The Board agreed with Examining Attorney Toby E. Bulloff that the mark OXZGEN is used as a trademark for beverages (which goods applicant had deleted from the application),  not for the identified goods.

The dosing and dispensing caps are an integral component of the bottles in which the beverages are sold, and as Applicant has confirmed, the caps are not sold separately. In other words, consumers are purchasing Applicant's beverages, not the dispensing and dosing caps.

And so the Board affirmed the refusal.

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TTABlog comment: WYHA?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The Board granted this petition for cancellation of a registration for the mark KEMI OYL for cosmetics and personal care products, finding the mark likely to cause confusion with opposer's identical mark previously used for overlapping goods. In stipulating to invoke the Board Accelerated Case Resolution procedure, the parties agreed that the sole issue for resolution was priority, but that respondent could pursue its affirmative defense of laches. , Cancellation No. 92065613 (May 15, 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Christopher Larkin).


Priority/Abandonment: Respondent was allowed to rely on the filing date of its underlying trademark application, which in turn claimed the priority of its U.K. filing under Section 44(d) (in 2010). While there was some question as to what exact date respondent was entitled to because respondent misstated the foreign filing date in his application, that was of no consequence since petitioner established its use before the earlier priority date.

Section 2(d) provides a ground for cancellation based upon likelihood of confusion with "a mark ... previously used in the United States ... and not abandoned .... A mark is deemed abandoned when its use has been discontinued with intent not to resume use." Respondent asserted abandonment as a defense to petitioner's claim of prior use.

Looking at the record as a whole, as required, the Board found that petitioner's documentary evidence had little or no probative value. However, its principal witness testified that petitioner sold hair and skin care product under the KEMI OYL mark for more than thirty years, that the products are sold throughout the United States, and that annual sales for the years 2010 through 2016 have been in the six-figure range.

Respondent contended that petitioner's testimony failed to establish that the KEMI OYL mark was in continuous use, but the Board pointed out that "continuous use is not required to establish petitioner's priority."

Section 2(d) “does not speak of ‘continuous use,’ but rather of whether the mark or trade name has been ‘previously used in the United States by another and not abandoned.’” West Fla. Seafood, 31 USPQ2d at 1665. *** Although the record as a whole suggests sporadic past use of the KEMI OYL mark, Petitioner is only required to show “proprietary rights in its pleaded common-law mark that precede [Respondent’s] actual or constructive use of its involved mark,” Exec. Coach Builders, 123 USPQ2d at 1180, which rights were not thereafter abandoned. West Fla. Seafood, 31 USPQ2d at 1665.

The Board observed that even if petitioner abandoned the KEMI OYL mark through non-use from 2001-2005, as respondent claimed, or at some other point, it was respondent's burden to show that petitioner did not resume use before respondents priority date.

Respondent's attacks on the probative value and credibility of petitioner's witness were rejected by the Board. "[O]ral testimony of even a single witness may be adequate to establish priority ... if sufficiently probative. Such testimony should not be characterized by contradictions, inconsistencies, and indefiniteness but should carry with it conviction of its accuracy and applicability." Although the witness's testimony declaration was "far from being a model of clarity and completeness" and was not accompanied by "the type or quantity of documentary evidence that one would expect to be readily available" to show use of a supposedly famous mark, the critical portions of his testimony were clear and neither contradicted by respondent nor indefinite or internally inconsistent.

The Board found that this testimony "established, at minimum, that Petitioner used the KEMI OYL mark at least as early as 2010, prior to Respondent's constructive use date, and that Petitioner has not abandoned the mark." The Board was also persuaded by two third-party witnesses who sold petitioner's products from a time prior to respondent's constructive use date.

"Petitioner's evidence of prior use stands unrebutted." Therefore, the Board concluded, petitioner was entitled to cancellation of respondent's registration, unless respondent could establish its claim of laches.

Laches: Section 19 provides that in "all inter partes proceeding equitable principles of laches, estoppel, and acquiescense, where applicable, may be considered and applied." Laches requires undue or unreasonable delay and resulting prejudice.

Respondent's registration issued on June 3, 2014 and this proceeding was commenced on March 14, 2017. Respondent contended that petitioner was on notice of his mark on May 1, 2013, when petitioner's pending application was suspended based on respondent's (non-use based) underlying application. The Board was unimpressed, noting that respondent cited no authority for the proposition that "the prospective citation of Respondent's intent-to-use application . . . put Respondent on notice of Respondent's use of his mark." There was no evidence that the mark was in use at the time, and in fact respondent's statement of use alleged a first use date of November 1, 2013.

In the absence of evidence of Petitioner’s actual knowledge of Respondent’s actual use of his mark prior to the close of the opposition period, the June 3, 2014 date of registration is the operative date for laches. Ava Ruha Corp., 113 USPQ2d at 1580.

Although petitioner's delay was a bit less than three years, shorter and slightly longer periods of delay have sufficed to support a laches defense. The Board then turned to consideration of the reasons for the delay.

Shortly after the registration issued, the parties exchanged correspondence but after respondent provided information about his mark, petitioner was silent for two years. During that period, petitioner's pending application was abandoned and revived on three separate occasions, but ultimately went abandoned. In a letter in June 2016, petitioner stated that it had priority and accused respondent of being the infringer. There was no testimony explaining why petitioner waited another nine months or so to file its petition.

Petitioner's claim that its delay was justified by the claim that respondent's use of the marks was inconspicuous was supported by discovery responses, which indicated that his sales between 2014 and 2016 were negligible.

The Board observed that "The defense of laches is not determined by adherence to rigid legal rules; rather, we analyze laches by a consideration of the specific facts and a balancing of the respective interests and equities of the parties, as well as of the general public.” Jansen Enters. Inc. v. Rind, 85 USPQ2d 1104, 1117 (TTAB 2007). Noting respondent's negligible sales and his inaction after July 2014, the Board found petitioner's delay to be not unreasonable, and it concluded that respondent failed to prove its laches defense.

For completeness, the Board also considered respondent's claim of prejudice but found it unsupported. Respondent's sales increased 18-fold from 2015 to 2016, but that was only from about $500 to $7000, and his sales trended downward in 2017. Thus respondent did not, as he claimed, build up "valuable business and goodwill" during the relevant period. The Board concluded that this lack of prejudice was a further ground for denial of the laches defense.

And so the Board dismissed the petition for cancellation.

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TTABlog comment:

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The USPTO refused registration of the mark PINT SIZE HEROES in standard character and Stylized form for "Collectable toy figures," finding confusion likely with the registered mark PINT SIZE PRODUCTIONS & Design for “plush toys; stuffed and plush toys; stuffed toy animals" [PRODUCTIONS disclaimed]. On appeal, applicant argued that it was not seeking to register its mark for plush or stuffed animals, that registrant's customers are shopping for baby board books that are accompanied by stuffed toys, and that the marks are different because applicant's mark is "ironic" while the cited mark is literal. How do you think this came out? , Serial Nos. 87171233 and 87171228 (March 15, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge David K. Heasley).


The Goods: As to applicant's assertion that it is not seeking registration of its mark for plush toys, the Board observed that "the identifications are not mutually exclusive, as collectable toy figures can consist of stuffed and/or plush toys." Applicant itself sells plush toys that are collectable toy figures and so the good in the identifications can overlap. Applicant also argued that registrant's customers are shopping for baby books sold with accompanying stuffed toys, but the Board must consider the goods as described in the application and cited registration, without extrinsic evidence of actual use.



Examining Attorney Katerina D. Satanovsky submitted a raft of evidence to show the relatedness of the goods, including Internet web pages and some 40 use-based third-party registrations covering the types of goods at issue. The Board found these registrations to be "persuasive evidence that the identified goods are of a type that may emanate from a single source under a single mark."

Thus the second du Pont factor weighed in favor of a finding of likely confusion.

Channels of Trade: The evidence showed that toy figures and stuffed toys are offered for sale in the same channels of trade - retail toy stores like Buy Buy Baby and Disney Store - to the same classes of consumers.

The Marks: As to the standard character mark PINT SIZE HEROES, applicant contended that its mark "immediately communicates irony, especially when used in connection with collectable super-her figures. In contrast, PINT SIZE PRODUCTIONS is literal: the goods feature and are for babies and toddlers." The Board, however, found the marks to be "more similar than dissimilar, in important respects."

The first two words in the marks are the same, and the prominence of PINT SIZE is enhanced by its placement at the beginning of both marks. The pronunciation and meaning of PINT SIZE would be the same in both marks. Moreover, the marks have the same structure, with the dominant component PINT SIZE followed by a single word. "Applicant's attempt to distinguish its mark's 'ironic' commercial impression is unavailing, for if the dominant portion of both marks is the same, then the marks may be confusingly similar notwithstanding peripheral differences." Given the related nature of the goods, the applied-for mark could be taken by consumers as another line of goods produced by PINT SIZE PRODUCTIONS.

As to its stylized mark, applicant contended that the marks differ in appearance, emphasis, and pronunciation. It claimed that HEROES is the dominant part of its mark, since it is twice the size of PINT SIZE, and the letter "H" is the leftmost portion of the mark and will be the first read. The cited mark, on the other hand, emphasizes PINT SIZE. Moreover, the registered mark is in pastel colors with a child-like handwriting style. "Funko's brand is built on striking pop-culture graphics, and PSP's is built on soft, warm, cuddly graphics."

The Board, however, agreed with the examining attorney that the verbal similarity between the marks outweighs their dissimilarity in design. The "verbal portion" of a word + design mark will likely appear alone in text and will be spoken when consumers ask for the goods. Of course, applicant's mark (with no color claim) could be used in colors similar to those of the registered mark.

Applicant's suggestion that HEROES would be the first word read in its mark was belied by its own application and its appeal brief, which refer to the mark as consisting of "the stylized text "PINT SIZE HEROES.' The smaller sized text used for PINT SIZE serves to "reinforce the connotation and commercial impression that the toy figures are PINT SIZE - i.e., very small." Therefore the term PINT SIZE is likely to make a greater impression upon consumers.

Conclusion: Finding that confusion is likely, the Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusals.


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TTABlog comment: What do you think?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The CAFC vacated the TTAB's decision of May 23, 2016 [TTABlogged ], in which the Board found that opposers failed to prove that the term ZERO is generic for soft drinks and sports drinks. The Board also found that Applicant Coca-Cola had established acquired distinctiveness in the term ZERO for soft drinks. The appellate court, however, ruled that the Board "erred in its legal framing" of the genericness issue and erred in failing to assess the level of descriptiveness of the term ZERO. , Appeal No. 2016-2375 (June 20, 2018) [precedential].


Opposers asserted that ZERO is either generic for, or merely descriptive of, applicant's soft drinks and sports drinks, and therefore that ZERO must be  disclaimed in the applied-for marks (including, for example, COCA-COLA ZERO).

Genericness: The court ruled that the Board "asked the wrong question" in determining the genericness of ZERO: "it failed to consider that 'a term can be generic for a genus of goods or services if the relevant public . . . understands the term to refer to a key aspect of that genus." In re Cordua Rests., Inc., 823 F.3d 594, 603 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (emphasis added). In Cordua, the CAFC also pointed out that "the test is not whether the relevant public would itself use the term to describe the genus but also whether the relevant public would understand the term to be generic." Id. at 602 (alteration in original) (quoting In re 1800Mattress.com IP, LLC, 586 F.3d 1359, 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2009)). Moreover, "a term is generic if the relevant public understands the term to refer to part of the claimed genus of goods or services, even if the public does not understand the term to refer to the broad genus as a whole." Id. at 605 (emphasis added).

In In re Cordua, we found that the term “churrasco” was generic, even for use in connection with a broad class of restaurant services, because the key public would understand the term to be referring to a specialty dish—a sub-aspect of restaurant services. Id. at 604. We made clear that “[t]here is no logical reason to treat differently a term that is generic of a category or class of products where some but not all of the goods identified in an application fall within that category.” Id. at 605 (quoting In re Analog Devices, Inc., 1988 WL 252496, at *3 (T.T.A.B. Mar. 21, 1988)). We pointed out, for instance, that the term “pizzeria” would be generic for restaurant services, even though the public does not understand the term to refer to the broad class of restaurants as a whole; the public need only understand that the term refers to “a particular sub-group or type of restaurant rather than to all restaurants.” Id.

The court explained that if the public understands ZERO, when used with a designated beverage name, refers to a sub-group or type of beverage that carries specific characteristics, then the term is generic. The Board "failed to consider whether consumers would consider the term ZERO to be generic for a subcategory of the claimed genus of beverages - i.e., the subcategory of the claimed beverages encompassing the specialty beverage categories of drinks with few or no calories of few or no carbohydrates."

The court instructed the Board to consider, on remand, whether ZERO is generic because it "refers to at key aspect of at least a sub-group or type of the claimed beverage goods."

Descriptiveness: The Board also erred by determining the issue of acquired distinctiveness without first properly determining the extent of opposers' burden of proof. Opposers asserted that ZERO was so highly descriptive that "the Board's assessment of [applicant's] evidence must be exacting."

The CAFC has long held that an applicant's burden of showing acquired distinctiveness increases with the level of descriptiveness. Steelbuilding.com, 415 F.3d at 1300; see also In re Boston Beer Co., 198 F.3d 1370, 1373 (Fed. Cir. 1999). The Board, however, did not make any finding as to the degree of descriptiveness of ZERO and thus did not view the evidence "through an exacting lens."

On remand, the Board "must make an express finding regarding the degree of the mark's (sic) descriptiveness on the scale ranging from generic to merely descriptive, and it must explain how its assessment of the evidentiary record reflects that finding."

Evidentiary Issues:  The CAFC noted several concerns with the treatment of the relevant evidence. First, opposers were not required, despite the Board's intimations otherwise, to provide direct evidence of consumer perception to support their genericness claim. Evidence regarding genericness may be obtained from any competent source, including consumer surveys, dictionaries, newspapers and other publications. Survey and/or dictionary evidence is not required.

Second, the Board's was wrong in its position that the ubiquity of applicant's ZERO product and its massive sales figures helped to outweigh opposers' evidence of genericness. Generic terms "cannot be rescued by proof of distinctiveness or secondary meaning no matter how voluminous the proffered evidence may be." Northland Aluminum, 777 F.2d at 1558 (alteration in original) (quoting  Examiner); see also Weiss Noodle Co. v. Golden Cracknel & Specialty Co., 290 F.2d 845, 847–48 (CCPA 1961). This type of evidence may be relevant to the issue of acquired distinctiveness, but not to genericness.

Finally, the Board also noted that applicant's survey evidence was of questionable probative value, since the survey was conducted more than five years before the testimony periods in these proceedings and thus could not reflect contemporary public perception, particularly in light of the evidence of third-party use in the intervening years.

Conclusion: "Because the Board applied the incorrect legal standard in assessing whether TCCC’s ZERO marks (sic) are generic, and did not adequately consider Royal Crown’s evidence with respect thereto, we vacate the Board’s dismissal of Royal Crown’s oppositions on that ground. We also vacate the Board’s acquired distinctiveness determination to allow it, in the first instance, to assess the nature of TCCC’s burden on that point and to explain how the evidence presented meets that precise burden."

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TTABlog comment:  Don't recall seeing the terms "key public" or "exacting lens" before. Also, the case concerned the term ZERO by itself, not whether the entire marks are generic or lack acquired distinctiveness.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






In yet another decision involving the admissibility of Internet evidence, the Board made clear that its recent ruling in In re Mueller Sports Medicine [TTABlogged] extends to trademark applicants as well as examining attorneys. In Mueller, the Board held that Internet evidence submitted by an examining attorney that did not include the date of access and the pertinent URL was objectionable. Here, the evidence at issue was submitted by the applicant. However, since this applicant's faulty submission occurred prior to issuance of the Mueller decision, the Board decided to consider the evidence. Nonetheless, the Board affirmed Section 2(d) refusals of the mark INDIGO in standard character form and in the design forms shown below [AR disclaimed] for "optical lenses, namely, corrective lenses sold through eye care professionals," in view of the registered mark INDIGO for "ski glasses, ski goggles, goggles for sports, protective sport helmets; sunglasses, bags specifically adapted for protective helmets.” , Serial Nos. 86802467, 86802618, and 86802733 (June 7, 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Peter W. Cataldo).



Internet evidence: In the past, the Board preferred, but did not require, that a webpage submitted by an applicant "be identified by the full address (url) for the web page, and the date it was downloaded, either by the information printed on the web page itself, or by providing this information in an Office action or an applicant's response." TBMP Section 1208.03; see also In re Max Capital Grp. Ltd., 93 USPQ2d 1243, 1245 n.6 (TTAB 2010). [The Board noted that the better practice is to print or otherwise display the URL and access date on the documents themselves. Alternatively, the URL and access date may be provided by declaration].

Website evidence submitted without the URL and access date "lacks authenticity and cannot be readily verified by the non-offering party." In In re Mueller Sports Medicine, Inc., 126 USPQ2d 1584, 1587 (TTAB 2018), the Board ruled that "to properly make such website evidence of record, a trademark examining attorney must include the URL and the date when the material was accessed, and . . . if an examining attorney fails to do so, and the applicant objects, the material will not be considered. According to the Board, it there "stated [its] intention" to hold applicants to the same standard. [In Mueller, the Board did not merely state its intention to extend the Safer requirements to applicants. It said: "we further extend these requirements to both examining attorneys and applicants in ex parte proceedings." - ed.].

In accordance with our decision in Mueller Sports Medicine, we will no longer consider Internet evidence filed by an applicant in an ex parte proceeding to be properly of record unless the URL and access or print date has been identified, either directly on the webpage itself, or by providing this information in a response, except where the examining attorney does not object.

Here, because applicant submitted its evidence during prosecution of the subject applications (with its request for reconsideration), prior to the Mueller decision, the Board chose to consider the website evidence submitted by Applicant .

Likelihood of confusion: The Board's Section 2(d) analysis was straightforward. Applicant I-Coat, in an effort to show the weakness of the word "INDIGO," submitted three third-party registrations and Internet evidence from three websites. The Board again recognized that, in determining the degree of weakness of the shared terms, it must “adequately account for the apparent force of [third-party use and registration] evidence,” regardless of whether “specifics” pertaining to the extent and impact of such use have been proven. Juice Generation, Inc. v. GS Enters. LLC, 115 USPQ2d 1671, 1674-5 (Fed. Cir. 2015). “[E]xtensive evidence of third-party use and registrations is ‘powerful on its face,’ even where the specific extent and impact of the usage has not been established.” Jack Wolfskin Ausrustung Fur Draussen GmbH & Co. KGAA v. New Millennium Sports, S.L.U., 116 USPQ2d 1129, 1136 (Fed. Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 982 (2016) (citing Juice Generation v. GS Enters., 115 USPQ2d at 1674).

As to the three websites, the Board found that this evidence fell "well short of the volume of evidence found convincing in Jack Wolfskin and Juice Generation." The three registrations involved marks (GREAT NORTHWEST INDIGO, INDIGOFERRA, and INDIGO SCHUY) significantly different from the marks at issue. Moreover, only two of the registrations recited goods identified in the cited registration, and none of the marks are as similar to the cited mark INDIGO as are applicant's marks.

In sum the totality of applicant's evidence failed to show that INDIGO is significantly weak in connection with the involved goods.

As to the two word + design marks, the Board found the word INDIGO to be the dominant feature. The evidence established that the disclaimed term "AR" is an acronym for "anti-reflective" and identifies a feature of the goods. In addition, "AR" is displayed in much smaller type than INDIGO. The rectangle-with-folded-corner design does not create a commercial impression separate from the wording but rather serves merely as a frame therefor. Of course, it is settled that the literal portion of a word + design mark will likely be the dominant portion. And so the Board concluded that the differences between the cited mark INDIGO and applicant's word + design marks were outweighed by the similarity in appearance sound and meaning.

Third-party website and registration evidence established that registrant's sunglasses and applicant's optical lenses travel in the same channels of trade. Although applicant's goods are limited to sale "through eye care professionals," there are no limitations in the cited registration. Examining Attorney Jonathan Ryan O'Rourke submitted evidence that both corrective lenses and sunglasses are sold on the same webpages.

Assuming that the purchasers of the involved goods will be more careful purchasers - seeking vision correction and vision enhancement by eye protection - the Board observed once again that even careful, sophisticated consumers are likely to believe that such goods emanate from the same source when sold under identical or similar marks.

Conclusion: The Board found confusion likely and it affirmed the refusals to register.

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: The Board called applicant's evidence of third-party use and registration, "modest." I sometimes use the word "feeble" in such circumstances.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The USPTO refused registration of the mark FOUNDIT THEFT RECOVERY for "GPS tracking devices, namely, personal asset tracker, personal tracker, vehicle tracker" (THEFT RECOVERY disclaimed), finding it likely to cause confusion with the registered mark IFI I FOUND IT (in stylized form with design) for "electronic devices for locating and tracking lost articles using radio frequency, global positioning systems, and/or cellular communication networks." The Board found that applicant’s goods are broad enough to encompass the cited goods, making the goods legally identical in-part. But what about the marks? How do you think this came out? , Serial No. 87543668 (June 13, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Francie R. Gorowitz).


We know that when the involved goods are identical (in-part) a lesser degree of similarity between the marks is necessary to support a finding of likely confusion. Moreover, "when a mark contains both words and designs, the verbal portion of the mark is normally more likely to indicate the origin of the goods to which it is affixed because it is the portion of the mark that consumers would use to refer to or request the goods."

The Board found the dominant part of the cited mark to be the literal phrase I FOUND IT. The dominant part of applicant’s mark is the term FOUNDIT since it is both the first part of the mark and the only element that is not disclaimed. "The first part of a mark is frequently the most dominant portion thereof."


Applicant argued that “the word ‘found’ in relation to Registrant’s electronic devices for locating lost articles is not very distinctive.” The Board acknowledged that the word, “found” may be weak in connection with registrant’s goods, but it pointed out once again that “even suggestive or weak marks are entitled to protection from the use of a very similar mark for legally identical
[goods].”

Viewing the marks in their entireties with the non-dominant features appropriately discounted, we find the Cited Mark and the mark FOUNDIT THEFT RECOVERY are similar in meaning and sound and that the similarities in the marks outweigh any dissimilarities. Similarity as to one element (e.g., sight, sound, or meaning) has been held sufficient to support a finding of confusing similarity. Interstate Brands Corp. v. McKee Foods Corp., 53 USPQ2d 1910, 1914 (TTAB 2000) (“It is not necessary that marks be similar in all three of the elements of sight, sound, and meaning to support a finding of likelihood of confusion.”).

And so the Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: Well, how did you do?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






Here's an interesting article in World Intellectual Property Review (May 23, 2018), interviewing TTAB Chief Judge Gerard F. Rogers. (). Note particularly his view on the impact, or lack thereof, of the B&B Hardware decision on TTAB practice.


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Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The USPTO refused registration of the mark SAVORY ROASTERS for "pet food; pet treats" [SAVORY disclaimed], deeming the mark likely to cause confusion with the registered mark HEARTY ROASTERS for "pet food." Applicant argued that ROASTERS is "clearly designed to be suggestive of the goods," and thus is not the dominant portion of the marks. How do you think this appeal came out? , Serial No. 86951910 (June 6, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Linda Kuczma).


The Goods: Because the goods are in part identical, those overlapping goods must be presumed to travel through the same, normal channels of trade to the same classes of purchasers. Moreover, as to applicant's pet treat products, Examining Attorney Gidette Cuello submitted evidence showing the same entity commonly manufactures or sells pet treats and pet food under the same mark. Thus these factors strongly favored a finding of likelihood of confusion.

The Marks: The Board found that the terms SAVORY and HEARTY do not detract from the similarities of the marks. Both words are adjectives used to favorably describe food or its attributes. While the two words may have different connotations, they have little, if any, source-identifying significance because they are descriptive or highly suggestive of pet food products - as reflected in applicant's disclaimer of SAVORY and as evidenced by the submitted dictionary definitions.

Applicant argued that "the shared element of the mark[s] - ROASTERS - is clearly designed to be suggestive of the goods being sold," and therefore that the Examining Attorney was wrong in concluding that ROASTERS is the dominant portion of applicant's mark.

The Board observed that it must consider the marks in their entireties. Although the leading descriptive elements in the marks differ visually and aurally, "consumers familiar with Registrant's HEARTY ROASTERS pet food may well conclude that Applicant's SAVORY ROASTERS pet food and pet treats are a new line of pet food from the maker of HEARTY ROASTERS pet food."

Moreover, the Board observed once again, when the goods of the parties are identical or as closely related, a lesser degree of similarity between the marks is necessary to support a finding of likely confusion.

The Board concluded that the marks are sufficiently similar in appearance, sound, connotation, and commercial impression for confusion to be likely.

And so the Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: Applicant did not provide any evidence that the term ROASTERS has descriptive significance when applied to pet food.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, in collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will host the 2018 National Trademark Exposition on July 27 and 28 at the National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20560. The exposition is a free, family-friendly event featuring educational workshops, exhibits and hands-on activities demonstrating the important role trademarks play in our economy and our lives. Children's activities, including scavenger hunts, interactive games, and trademark design workshops, will be offered both days. [more details and at www.uspto.gov/TMExpo.]


As part of the 2018 National Trademark Exposition, two free continuing legal education (CLE) seminars will be offered to legal professionals:

Who Owns You After You Die - Inside the Estates of Deceased Celebrities
Friday, July 27, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

This seminar will be moderated by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, professional basketball legend, author, and registered trademark owner, and his business manager, Deborah Morales. Panelists will include Jennifer E. Rothman, a leading expert on right of publicity and Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and Priya P. Royal, managing attorney and founder of the Royal Law Firm, PLLC.
Legal Ethics Seminar
Friday, July 27, 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

This seminar will be delivered by William R. Covey, United States Patent and Trademark Office Deputy General Counsel and Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). OED is responsible for registering attorneys and agents to practice before the USPTO and the presentation will cover a variety of issues, including OED rules, programs and statistics, as well as related case law.

TO REGISTER send an email with your name, bar number, and seminar you wish to attend to TMExpo@USPTO.GOV with “CLE Registration” in the subject line. Registration is limited to 100 attendees per seminar and closes on July 10. The USPTO is seeking CLE accreditation for the seminars.

Read comments and post your comment .

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






In a bit of a snoozer, the Board affirmed Section 2(d) refusals of the mark THE TROPICS for "providing foods and drinks; providing of food and drink via a mobile truck; restaurant; catering services" (class 43) and the words + design mark shown below for "entertainment services in the nature of organizing social entertainment events; entertainment services, namely, live musical and dance performances; night club services, namely, conducting parties" (class 41). The Board found the marks likely to cause confusion with the registered mark TROPIXX for various entertainment services, including nightclub services and live performances by musical bands. , Serial Nos. 87503471 and 87504846 (June 4, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge George C. Pologeorgis).


The Marks: The Board observed that the word TROPICS is the phonetic equivalent of TROPIXX, and it concluded that the marks have the same connotation and commercial impression. Of course, the verbal portion of the words + design mark is given greater weight, since it is the portion that purchasers would use to call for the services. The word "The" in applicants' marks has no trademark significance.

Applicants feebly argued that the "XX" in the cited mark could mean kisses, or the number 20, or an extra-large size. Alternatively, the letters PIXX, according to Applicants, convey the meaning of "picture" or "pictures." The Board was unmoved, since applicant failed to provide any evidence that consumers would so interpret the cited mark.

The Board concluded that the first du Pont factor supported the refusals.

The Services: Applicant's class 41 services include "night club services," as does the cited registration. "Registration must be refused if confusion would be likely as to any services recited in an application." Examining Attorney Anna H. Rosenblatt submitted third-party registration and use evidence showing that the remainder of the class 41 services are closely related to registrant's services.

As to applicants' class 43 services, again third-party registrations and usage evidence demonstrated that these third parties offer services relating to the provision of food and beverages, and entertainment services in the nature of live entertainment, catering services and night club services, under the same mark.

Channels of Trade: Because some of the involved services overlap, the Board must presume that they travel in the same, normal channels of trade to the usual classes of consumers. As to the non-identical services, the third-party website evidence showed that these services may be provided in the same market to overlapping customers.

Conclusion: The Board therefore affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal to register.

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: WYHA?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The Board dismissed an opposition to registration of PIRATE PISS for "beer, ale and lager," finding that confusion is not likely with the registered mark PYRAT for "“distilled spirits” (and PYRAT RUM for “rum”). Opposer's evidence that beer and rum are related was inadequate, and its reliance on past Board decisions to prove that relationship was misplaced. , Opposition No. 91226939 (June 8, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Thomas W. Wellington).


The Goods: Opposer submitted copies of 13 third-party registrations for marks covering both beer and rum. However, only six were use-based registrations. The other seven were based on ownership of foreign registrations with no claim of use in commerce, and therefore were irrelevant.

The Board found this evidence "not very convincing." "While there is no threshold number, six relevant registrations is a relatively small number given the number of breweries and beer brands in the U.S." Moreover, registrations are not evidence that the marks have actually been used [ever? why not? - ed.] or that consumers are aware of the use. In short, "there is insufficient evidence of third parties using the same mark in connection with beer and rum, or evidence that a maker of rum also actually produces beer."

As to prior Board decisions, "[t]here is no per se rule that holds that all alcoholic beverages are related." In re White Rock Distilleries Inc., 92 USPQ2d 1282, 1285 (TTAB 2009). Each case must be decided on its own record. "Put simply, Opposer cannot evade its burden to prove relatedness by bootstrapping upon previous factual findings made in other decisions on different records." The Board went on to note that the evidence of relatedness here "pales in comparison to the records in many of the decisions where beer was found to be related to other alcoholic beverages." If the marks at issue were identical or highly similar, less evidence of relatedness might be required, but that is not the case here.

Therefore the Board found that the second du Pont factor did not weigh in opposer's favor.

Strength of the word PIRATE: In attempting to show that PIRATE is a weak formative, applicant submitted three use-based registrations - nowhere near enough to prove its point. Registrations alone are not evidence that the marks are in use or that the consuming public is aware of them.

Opposer contended that its mark PYRAT is well known, pointing to various awards, advertisements, recipes mentioning PYRAT rum, online retail stores featuring PYRAT rum, etc. However, these materials were not accompanied by any testimony to verify the truth of the documents or put them in context. Therefore the Board found the fifth and sixth du Pont factors to be neutral.


The Marks: The word "pyrat" is an archaic alternative spelling of "pirate." It will be so understood by consumers, "albeit in an archaic spelling that will perhaps connote the golden age of piracy." The two terms will sound the same and share a visual similarity. However, the marks at issue differ in connotation and commercial impression:

Opposer’s mark simply conjures a feeling of nostalgia for “pirates” or “piracy,” and this is certainly enhanced in the context of the goods, inasmuch as there is a strong association between rum and pirates. Applicant’s mark, PIRATE PISS, on the other hand, conjures the vulgar image of urine from a pirate. In the context of Applicant’s beer, and for better or worse, the mark will likely be understood as a humorous, self-deprecating description of a quality or strength of the beer or simply just as an arbitrary vulgar expression. Nevertheless, the strong image and commercial impression of Applicant’s mark, PIRATE PISS, distinguishes it from Opposer’s PYRAT mark.

The Board therefore found that the first du Pont factor weighed in applicant's favor.

Conclusion: Given the weak record evidence regarding the relationship between rum and beer, and despite the fact that the goods travel in the same channels of trade to the same classes of consumers, the Board found no likelihood of confusion and it dismissed the opposition.

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TTABlog comment: I'm a bit surprised that Major League Baseball didn't oppose.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






[I will not make any references to the recent demise of the Houston Rockets]. In an opinion of a mere six pages, the Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) refusal to register HOUSTON BITES, finding the mark to be merely descriptive of "[p]roviding a website featuring non-downloadable photographs regarding restaurants, food and beverages" [HOUSTON disclaimed]. , Serial No. 87170141 (June 4, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Angela Lykos).


Examining Attorney Douglas M. Lee submitted a dictionary entry for Houston ("a city of southeast Texas near Galveston Bay"), and one for "bites" (an informal term meaning "a light meal or snack").

The Board found that the combination HOUSTON BITES is merely descriptive of Applicant's Internet content provision services. This conclusion was bolstered by evidence of third-party use of "bites" preceded by a geographic location to identify websites featuring restaurant and food reviews (e.g., CHICAGO BITES, JERSEY BITES).

In sum, Applicant’s proposed mark immediately conveys, without need for conjecture or speculation, a feature of Applicant’s services, namely that the subject matter of the photographs displayed on Applicant’s website is light meals and snacks available in Houston, Texas.

And so the Board affirmed the refusal.

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: WYHA?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






In a precedential, ruling, the Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal of the mark 5IVE STEAKHOUSE & Design (below left) in view of the registered mark 5IVESTEAK (Stylized), both for "restaurant and bar services." Applicant's third-party registration evidence was unsatisfying, and its reliance on its prior registration of a similar mark lacked sizzle. , Serial No. 87075988 (June 6, 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Marc A. Bergsman).


Third-party registration and usage: In an effort to show that 5IVE is a weak formative. applicant pointed to 21 registrations and applications for marks that include that word, two registrations for marks that include FIFTH for restaurant services , and one registration for 51 FIFTEEN for restaurant and bar services.

The Board pointed out that pending applications are not evidence of use of the marks. Nike Inc. v. WNBA Enters. LLC, 85 USPQ2d 1187, 1193 n.8 (TTAB 2007); Interpayment Servs. Ltd. v. Docters & Thiede, 66 USPQ2d 1463, 1468 n.6 (TTAB 2003). Second, only five of the submitted registrations related to restaurant and bar services, and therefore the others have limited probative value. See In re i.am.symbolic, LLC, 123 USPQ2d at 1751 Moreover, one of the five registrations had been cancelled and therefore had no probative value. In re Kysela Pere et Fils Ltd., 98 USPQ2d 1261, 1264 (TTAB 2011). Two of the remaining four registrations were for related but not identical services and the other two covered identical services but contained the non-identical term "FIFTH."

There was no evidence of third-party usage; only evidence of "just a few" third-party registrations. The Board pointed out once again that the "“existence of [third-party] registrations is not evidence of what happens in the marketplace or that customers are familiar with them.” AMF Inc. v. Am. Leisure Prods., Inc., 474 F.2d 1403, 177 USPQ 268, 269 (CCPA 1973).

Nevertheless, in determining the degree of weakness, if any, in the shared terms, we must “adequately account for the apparent force of [third-party use and registration] evidence,” regardless of whether “specifics” pertaining to the extent and impact of such use have been proven. Juice Generation, Inc. v. GS Enters. LLC, 794 F.3d 1334, 115 USPQ2d 1671, 1674-5 (Fed. Cir. 2015). “[E]xtensive evidence of third-party use and registrations is ‘powerful on its face,’ even where the specific extent and impact of the usage has not been established.” Jack Wolfskin Ausrustung Fur Draussen GmbH & Co. KGAA v. New Millennium Sports, S.L.U., 797 F.3d 1363, 116 USPQ2d 1129, 1136 (Fed. Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 982 (2016) (citing Juice Generation v. GS Enters., 115 USPQ2d at 1674).

However, unlike Juice Generation, where "extensive evidence" of third-party registration and use of similar marks was deemed "powerful on its face," applicant here presented no evidence of use and at most four third-party registrations of varying probative value (two for non-identical services and two for non-identical terms). "This is a far cry from the large quantum of evidence of third-party use and third-party registrations that was held to be significant in both Jack Wolfskin v. New Millennium Sports, 116 USPQ2d at 1136, and Juice Generation v. GS Enters., 115 USPQ2d at 1674.

Therefore the Board considered this 6th du Pont factor to be neutral.

The marks: The Board again observed that when the involved services are identical, as here, a lesser degree of similarity between the marks is necessary to support a finding of likelihood of confusion. Coach Servs., Inc. v. Triumph Learning LLC, 668 F.3d 1356, 101 USPQ2d 1713, 1721 (Fed. Cir. 2012); Century 21 Real Estate Corp. v. Century Life of Am., 970 F.2d 874, 23 USPQ2d 1698, 1700 (Fed. Cir. 1992).

The Board found the marks to be "highly similar" in appearance, sound, connotation, and commercial impression. Applicant maintained that the marks have significant differences in appearance, but the Board pointed out that the literal portion of a word + design mark is often considered the dominant feature because it is the portion that is most likely to indicate source. "In other words, the literal elements of a mark are likely to make a greater impression upon purchasers than any stylization of the words or accompanying designs, and would be remembered by them and used by them to request the services." See In re Viterra, 101 USPQ2d at 1908 and 1911 (citing CBS Inc. v. Morrow, 708 F.2d 1579, 218 USPQ 198, 200 (Fed. Cir 1983)). Moreover, the knife-and-fork design in applicant's mark is a relatively small element of the mark and is at best suggestive of restaurant services.

Applicant's prior registration: Under the thirteenth du Pont factor, the Board may consider "any other establish fact probative of the effect of use." The Board observed that "[w]here an applicant owns a prior registration that is over five years old and the mark is substantially the same as in the applied-for application, this can weigh against finding that there is a likelihood of confusion. See, e.g., In re Strategic Partners Inc., 102 USPQ2d 1397, 1399 (TTAB 2012) (applicant’s prior registration for ANYWEARS in standard characters substantially similar to the applied-for mark ANYWEAR in stylized form for identical goods).


Applicant pointed to its prior registration for the mark shown immediately above, which has coexisted with the cited registration on the Trademark Register for more than five years. The Board, however, observed that the applied-for mark "moves closer to the cited registration" than the mark in the prior registration. The Board acknowledged that STEAK, STEAKHOUSE, and RESTAURANT are generic, or at best descriptive terms, "but such terms, in appropriate circumstances may - and here, do - contribute to the overall commercial impression created by a mark." See Juice Generation v. GS Enters., 115 USPQ2d at 1676 (Board paid insufficient heed to the word JUICE in mark for juice bar services).

Because of the similarity of the wording 5IVE STEAKHOUSE and 5IVESTEAK, the Board deemed the existence of applicant's prior registration to be a neutral factor in the Section 2(d) analysis.

Conclusion: The Board found confusion likely and so it affirmed the refusal.

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: Note that the Board referred to applicant's prior registration as being "over five years old," without using the misleading and erroneous term "incontestable."

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






Here are three recent appeals from mere descriptiveness refusals under Section 2(e)(1). One of the refusals was reversed. Let's see how you do in the role of TTAB judge. [Answer in first comment].



, Serial No. 87105947 (May 15, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge George C. Pologeorgis). [Mere descriptiveness refusal of CA’PUCCINO COFFEE HOUSE AND KITCHEN & Design for, inter alia, coffee and café services [COFFEE HOUSE AND KITCHEN disclaimed].


, Serial No. 86847785 (May 15, 2017) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Cheryl B. Goodman). [Mere descriptiveness refusal of KOPI CHAM MOCHA for "coffee based beverages"].


, Serial No. 79189309 (May 25, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Anthony R. Masiello). [Mere descriptiveness refusal of GLOBAL FARMERS’ MARKET for various food items in classes 29, 30, and 31].


Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog note: How did you do? See any WYHAs here?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






Ruling that website evidence from a no-longer active website is not probative, the Board found the term CAVIAR to be not misdescriptive of applicant's pet foods and pet treats, and so it reversed Section 2(a) deceptiveness and Section 2(e)(1) deceptive misdescriptiveness refusals of the mark CANINE CAVIAR. The Board did, however, uphold the requirement that applicant disclaim the word CANINE. , 126 USPQ2d 1590 (TTAB 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Lorelei Ritchie).


Deceptiveness under Section 2(a) requires a showing that (1) the mark misdescribes the goods, (2) consumers would likely believe the misdescription, and  (3) the misrepresentation would materially affect the purchasing decision. The examining attorney contended that consumers would understand the word "caviar" to mean that caviar is an ingredient of applicant's goods. There was no dispute that the goods do not contain caviar.

Applicant maintained that consumers are likely to think of CANINE CAVIAR not as a reference to "fish roe," but as a laudatory reference to the quality of the product as "the best of its kind," as in "the caviar of pet foods." A declaration from an expert linguist supported that assertion. The Board found that some consumers would understand "caviar" to refer to fish roe, while others would understand "caviar" in the laudatory sense, the latter not being misdescriptive.

Turning to the second prong of the test, the examining attorney submitted evidence that pet foods and treats may contain caviar and that pet owners give caviar to their pets. The Board, however, found two problems with that evidence.

First, several of the websites reference by the examining attorney are "cached" or stored, and applicant objected that the sites were no longer active. The Board found that to be fatal to the probative value of the evidence:

[A]lthough the Examining Attorney’s evidence did properly include a URL and date, due to Applicant’s objections that certain sites are not active, we find that such evidence is not probative.

The Board noted that even if the URL resolves to an active link, "there may still be an issue raised as to the probative value of the evidence, including, but not limited to, the probative weight to assign consumer perceptions as of the original publishing date."

The second problem with the examining attorney's website evidence was that several webpages referred to foreign use (in the U.K.). Evidence from foreign websites may be probative in some cases (for example, technical fields), but in this case the evidence "does not tell us the norms specific to pet owners in the United States who are relevant consumers."

Applicant submitted a declaration from a consultant in the animal feed industry, stating that "[t]he use of caviar as an ingredient in pet food essentially is non-existent." Two of applicant's distributors stated that they were unaware of anyone being deceived or confused into thinking that applicant's product contains caviar. Instead, the mark is understood as being a metaphor for high quality food.

The examining attorney asserted that the Board should make its own legal conclusions, but the Board noted that the witnesses were also providing factual testimony: i.e., that they were not aware of any confusion or deception that the products in question contain caviar.

Consistent with longstanding practice, we accord these declarations such probative value as they may have, and weigh them with the totality of the evidence.

 The Board acknowledged that a few companies offer caviar for pets as a special, luxury item, but the overwhelming evidence is that caviar is almost never used as an ingredient for pet food. During 20 years of use of the CANINE CAVIAR mark, consumers have not mistakenly believed that applicant's products contain caviar.

While we expect most pet owners to cherish their pets, we do not expect that they consider it be reasonable to spend over one hundred times the cost of comparable pet food on a single meal for these treasured creatures.

The Board concluded that consumers who perceive the word "caviar" in applicant's mark  to mean "fish roe" are not likely to believe that applicant's goods contain caviar. Therefore the mark is not deceptive under Section 2(a), and since the first two prongs under that test were not met, it perforce is not deceptively misdescriptive under Section 2(e)(1).

Turning to the requirement that applicant disclaim CANINE, applicant argued that the mark is unitary due to its alliteration and therefore that no disclaimer is required. The Board noted, however, that the combination of the two words provides no additional meaning beyond that proposed by applicant and its linguistics expert: "luxury dog food." Similarly alliterative terms like CANINE CRUNCHER and CANINE CANDY are registered with disclaimers of CANINE. The Board had no doubt that CANINE will be viewed as a separable term that conveys the information that the product is dog food, and thus is merely descriptive thereof.

And so the Board affirmed the disclaimer requirement.

Electric eels I might add do it
Though it shocks em I know
Why ask if shad do it, waiter bring me
"shad roe"
(Cole Porter, "Let's Do It.")
Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: I think the mark suggests that the pet food contains some caviar, not that it is totally caviar.


Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






Observing that there are no precedential decisions regarding an examining attorney's failure to properly submit Internet evidence, the Board ruled that both applicants and examining attorneys must include the URL and the date the webpage was accessed. If an applicant does not object to the examining attorney's failure to do so, "the Board will consider the website for whatever probative value it may have." If the applicant fails to do so without objection from the examining attorney, the Board may consider the objection waived. , 126 USPQ2d 1584 (TTAB 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Marc A. Bergsman).


Until Safer Inc. v. OMS Invs. Inc., there was no requirement that a party include a webpage address when introducing a webpage into evidence in an inter partes proceedings. [Now codified in Trademark Rule 2.122(e)]. The TMEP adopted the Safer requirements for examining attorneys in ex parte proceedings. TMEP §710.01(b) (October 2017). But the TMEP is not the law.

In determining whether to make those requirements the law, the Board first considered an analogous situation for guidance (namely, lists of third-party registrations):

If the applicant, during the prosecution of the application, provided a listing of third-party registrations, without also submitting actual copies of the registrations, and the examining attorney did not object or otherwise advise the applicant that a listing is insufficient to make such registrations of record at a point when the applicant could cure the insufficiency, the examining attorney will be deemed to have waived any objection to the admissibility of the list. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Manual of Procedure (“TBMP”) § 1207.03 (June 2017); see also TBMP § 1208.02.

Following that example, the Board ruled that "if an examining attorney fails to include the website URL and the date that the webpage was accessed but the applicant fails to lodge an objection on that ground, then the Board will consider the website for whatever probative value it may have."

Furthermore, the Board extended those requirements not only to examining attorneys, but to applicants in ex parte proceedings as well.

Similar to the submission of third-party registrations, Examining Attorneys have a responsibility to make sure that applicants properly submit Internet evidence. If the applicant’s response includes Internet evidence without a URL or date it was printed, the examining attorney must object to the evidence in the first Office action following the response and advise the applicant as to the proper way to make the Internet evidence of record. Otherwise the Board may consider the objection to be waived.

If the applicant files an appeal, the examining attorney should continue the objection to the evidence in his or her appeal brief.

Turning to the substantive issue in the case, the Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) mere descriptiveness refusal of the mark RECOIL for medical and athletic cohesive tape. Dictionary definitions, third-party website pages, and applicant's own packaging confirmed that "recoil" is used to describe the ability of applicant's tape to return to its original form.

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: Note the use of "will" and "may." If the applicant fails to object, the Board will consider the evidence. If the examining attorney fails to object, the Board may consider the objection waived. Does this difference make sense?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The Board dismissed an opposition to registration of the mark shown below right for "restaurant services," finding that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority failed to prove likelihood of confusion with its registered mark shown below left, for highway maintenance services and information services, and its common law mark shown below center for those same services and for "service areas along the Garden State Parkway that include restaurants, many of which feature pizza." , Opposition No. 91219067and Cancellation No. 92059657 (May 15, 2008) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Cynthia C. Lynch).


Priority: Plaintiff NJTA established priority as to its highway maintenance and information services, but it failed to prove any rights in its marks for restaurant services. NJTA merely acts as a landlord for various restaurant facilities - such as Burger King and Pizza Hut - located at its service areas. In fact, its marks are not even displayed at or near the service areas.

The only item of evidence showing NJTA's use of its logo comprised a discount coupon for an Extra Value Meal that was apparently distributed in 1996, but there was no evidence as to how many were distributed. This sole piece of evidence was insufficient to establish common law rights as to restaurant services.


Strength of the Mark: NJTA contended that its mark is famous. The Board found the mark to enjoy "some degree of renown" in view of length of use, revenue figures, media coverage, and third party infringements and successful enforcement efforts. The Board concluded that the marks is "reasonably strong for highway management and maintenance and travel information services."

The Marks: Because of the strong visual resemblance between the marks, the Board found the commercial impressions of the marks to be "fairly similar," and the marks as in their entireties to be "similar."

The Services: There was no evidence that consumers would expect restaurant services and highway maintenance services to emanate from the same source.

Trade Channels: The same travelers who encounter NJTA's road maintenance and management services, or travel information services, also stop and eat at restaurants. And so there is at least a partial overlap in channels of trade and classes of consumers.

Bad Faith: Pointing to the 13th du Pont factor, plaintiff claimed that defendant chose the applied-for mark in bad faith. The Board, however, found no bad faith in defendant's creation of a New Jersey-themed motif for its restaurants, or from submission of an application to register after receiving a cease-and-desist letter, because (as defendant responded), there is no likelihood of confusion.

Conclusion: The Board concluded that source confusion is unlikely, and it dismissed NJTA's Section 2(d) claim.

Counterclaims: Defendant's two counterclaims, based primarily on its interpretation of New Jersey state law, were meritless. Its challenge to NJTA's ownership of the registration was barred by Section 14 of the Trademark Act, since registrations that are more than five years old may be challenged only on certain enumerated grounds, and ownership is not one of them. [Thankfully, the Board did not refer to the registration as "incontestable" - ed.].

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: In a cancellation proceeding consolidated with the opposition, defendant conceded that it discontinued use of an earlier version of its pizza logo mark with intent not to resume use, and so the Board granted NJTA's petition for cancellation on the ground of abandonment.

BTW: What is stopping defendant from opening a pizza restaurant just off a NJ Turnpike exit? Would consumers think it was affiliated with or sponsored by the Turnpike Authority? I suspect so.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The Board affirmed Section 2(d) refusals to register the mark DEAD BIRD BREWING COMPANY (standard characters) [BREWING COMPANY disclaimed] and the design mark shown below, for beer, in view of the registered mark DEADBIRD for wines. Applicant submitted evidence of several dozen registrations and uses of mark for beer owned by one entity and for wine by a different entity, but the Board was unmoved. , Serial Nos. 87140389 and 87140417 (June 13, 2018) ]not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Thomas W. Wellington).


The Marks: Not surprisingly, the Board found the words DEAD BIRD to be the dominant portion of applicant's mark DEAD BIRD BREWING COMPANY, since BREWING COMPANY is disclaimed and since DEAD BIRD is located as the first part of the mark. The word marks at issue both connote a "dead bird," and the term has no significance in connection with beer or wine. In sum, the marks are "extremely similar." Consumers may believe that the added term BREWING COMPANY "is simply being used in connection with a variant mark to designate Registrant's attempt at brewing beer, a concept that would be plausible in the minds of the relevant consumers."

As to applicant's design mark, it is the pictorial equivalent of the words "dead bird." Under the doctrine of legal equivalents, a pictorial depiction and equivalent wording are likely to make the same mental impression on purchasers. Applicant described the mark as an "upside down dead bird." Consumers are likely to use the words "the dead bird design (or mark or logo)" when describing applicant's mark, and are likely to ask for "dead bird beer" when ordering the product. The Board therefore found the similarity between this mark and the cited mark to be "very strong."

The Goods: In demonstrating the relatedness of beer and wine, Examining Attorney Amy E. Thomas relied on 24 use-based registrations covering both, on websites showing beer and wine featured in festivals, on websites showing beer and wind made and offered by a single entity under the same mark, and on websites advertising retail establishments that feature beer and wine.

Applicant acknowledged that the Board has often found beer and wine to be related for purposes of its likelihood of confusion analysis. However, applicant argued that the record here demonstrates that the goods are not related. It relied primarily on the contention that the same, or very similar, mark is used or registered by one entity for beer and by a different entity for wine (including some 60 pairs of registered marks and approximately 30 websites).

Applicant asserted that its evidence showed that the USPTO has treated inconsistently the beer-versus-wine issue, that consumers are accustomed to seeing the same mark used to indicate different sources of beer and wine, and that beer and wine makers do not view their products as creating potential trademark conflicts.

The Board found that applicant's pairs of existing registration have some probative value in that they "may reflect the views of coexisting registration owners." As to the USPTO's inconsistency, the Board again acknowledged that consistency is desirable, but nonetheless "prior decision and actions of other examining attorneys in registering other marks or approving marks for registration have little evidentiary value and are not binding on the Board." The Board's own case law suggests that the relatedness of beer and wine typically has resulted in a finding of likely confusion.

The Examining Attorney's evidence showed that there are a significant number of examples of third-party use of a single mark by the same entity for beer and wine, including several businesses that call themselves "winery and brewery." Third-party registration evidence helps corroborate that beer and wine are the type of goods that may emanate from a common source under the same mark. The evidence also showed that beer and wine may be sold together to the same consumers, including at stores, restaurants, and festivals.

We have considered the entire record and, to be clear, our determination regarding the relatedness of the involved goods is not based upon who has submitted the most third-party registrations or examples of use to support their arguments. Rather, our determination is based on finding that the respective goods are "related in some manner and/or the circumstances surrounding their marketing [be] such that they could give rise to the mistaken belief that [the respective goods] emanate from the same source."

Consumers may be aware of coexisting marks, but that does not mean that they may not also be aware of the same mark being used in connection with beer and wine by the same entity.

Conclusion: The Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: Compare the PIRATE PISS case of a few days ago [TTABlogged ], where an opposer failed to prove the relatedness of beer and wine.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.






The Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal to register HONEYHOLE SANDWICHES for "restaurant with bar specializing in serving proprietary unique sandwiches, local beers and alcohol in a vibrant, eclectic environment" [SANDWICHES disclaimed], finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the registered mark HONEY HOLE for "alcoholic beverages except beers." The Board found the "something more" required to prove relatedness between restaurant services and a food item, in the strength of the cited mark, the fact that applicant serves alcohol ("HONEYHOLE COCKTAILS"), and third-party use evidence. , Serial No. 87138294 (May 22, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Frances Wolfson).



Evidentiary Issues: The Board first dealt with various evidentiary issues, including objections to applicant's submission of lists of third-party registrations rather than copies of the corresponding PTO records, and its submission of website evidence without inclusion of the date and URL. See In re Mueller Sports Medicine, Inc. [TTABlogged ].

Applicant submitted a "ThorCheck" report purporting to show 100 pairs of marks registered to different owners, for restaurant services and alcoholic beverages, but the Board was not much impressed since the report comprised merely a list of registrations. Moreover, the dates of registration were missing, as was the current status of each registration. in 38 of the pairs one or both marks contain design elements, and in 4 pairs the owner of the two marks were the same.

The Marks: Not surprisingly, the Board found the terms HONEYHOLE to be the dominant portion of applicant's mark. HONEYHOLE is "slang for a location that yields a valued commodity or resource." Applicant urged that because registrant's alcoholic beverages are honey-flavored, the cited mark is weak. The Board found that, while this fact may undercut the conceptual strength of the cited mark, there was no evidence of third-party use of similar marks that would lessen the mark's commercial strength.

Even consumers who are unfamiliar with the slang expression and who recognize that some of registrants goods may contain honey (there is no such limitation in the registration), are likely to conclude that "the marks emanate from the same source of origin."

In sum, the marks are similar in sight, sound, connotation and commercial impression.

The Goods and Services: "[T]he mere fact that a restaurant may offer certain food items or beverages does not by itself mean that the food or drink is related to the restaurant services; rather, in order '[t]o establish likelihood of confusion a party must show something more than that similar or even identical marks are used for food products and for restaurant services.' Jacobs v. Int'l Multifoods Corp., 212 USPQ 641, 642 (CCPA 1982). [Emphasis by the Board].

The Board has found the requisite "something more" when the registrant's mark was a "very unique, strong mark" and there was a commercial relationship between the goods and restaurants: e.g., in Mucky Duck (mustard) and Opus One (registrant's wines were actually sold in applicant's restaurants).

Here, the Board found the cited mark to be strong, and it further noted that applicant's recitation of services includes "serving ... alcohol." Applicant's specimen of use showed that applicant uses the term HONEYHOLE to identify cocktails sold at its establishment.

Examining Attorney Kim Teresa Moninghoff submitted 45 use-based third-party registrations for marks covering both restaurant services and alcoholic drinks. In addition, she submitted evidence showing that restaurants offer private-label alcoholic beverages under the same mark as used for their restaurant services. And finally, she provided evidence of online advertising by companies offering to create private label beverage lines for restaurants.

The Board therefore found that the "something more" showing was made and that applicant's restaurant services are sufficiently related to respondent's goods.

Conclusion: Finding confusion likely, the Board affirmed the refusal to register.

Read comments and post your comment .

TTABlog comment: Suppose applicant had filed for "sandwich restaurant services?" Would that have made a difference? How do you think a court would rule if registrant brought an infringement claim?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.



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ul { list-style-type: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; overflow: hidden; background-color: #333; } li { float: left; } li a { display: block; color: white; text-align: center; padding: 14px 16px; text-decoration: none; } li a:hover:not(.active) { background-color: #111; } .active { background-color: #4CAF50; } DMCA report abuse Home Todas Pastas Auto Post sitemap Blog "Sem Imagens" oLink xxx USPTO Exam Guide 2-18: Scandalousness Refusals on Hold Pending Final Resolution of In re Brunetti Tags:#petition, #will, Search:petition, will, On May 24, 2018, the USPTO issued "Examination Guidance for Compliance with Section 2(a)’s Scandalousness Provision While Constitutionality Remains in Question during Period to Petition for Certiorari to U.S. Supreme Court" (pdf here). In short, applications that receive a "scandalous or immoral" refusal under Section 2(a) will be (or will remain) suspended pending the final outcome of the "FUCT" case, In re Brunetti.You will recall that the CAFC reversed the Board's decision in Brunetti, which had found the mark FUCT to be unregistrable under Section 2(a). [TTABlogged here]. The CAFC denied re-hearing on April 12, 2018. The current deadline for the USPTO to file a petition for a writ of certiorari is July 11, 2018. Any current or future suspension of an application based on the scandalousness provision of Section 2(a) will remain in place until either: (a) the time for filing a petition for certiorari in Brunetti (including any extensions granted) expires, with no petition being filed; or (b) if a petition for certiorari is filed, the later of (1) denial of certiorari or (2) termination of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings in the case. Thereafter, the USPTO will determine whether additional suspension or procedural guidance is needed. If not, examining attorneys will take appropriate action in each case and proceed accordingly.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Will the USPTO petition? I doubt it.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Test: Is GAVIOTA for Faucets Confusable With SEAGULL for Water Purification Units? The USPTO refused registration of the mark GAVIOTA, in standard character form, for “Luxury bathroom faucets; Water control valves for bathroom faucets; Plumbing fittings, namely, spouts for bathroom fixtures; Tub Spouts; Shower Heads; Handles for shower faucets; Plumbing fittings, namely, [and] shower control valves,” on the ground of likely confusion with the registered mark SEAGULL for "water purification units and parts thereof." The Examining Attorney maintained that "gaviota" is Spanish for "seagull." Applicant argued that the goods are unrelated and that consumers would understand its mark as referring to the southern California beach town of Gaviota and to the famous Gaviota State Park. How do you think this appeal came out? In re California Faucets, Inc., Serial No. 87029512 (June 11, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Thomas Shaw). [Corrected opinion issued June 20, 2018].The Goods: Examining Attorney Louis Kolodner introduced third-party registrations and website pages to show that the involved goods are offered under the same mark. Additional evidence showed that water purification units (including Registrant's) include faucets and shower heads. Applicant pointed to the limitation of its goods to bathroom fixtures, but the Board was unmoved: registrant's goods are not limited to "producing water in a kitchen," as applicant asserted. The Board therefore found the goods to be related.There were no limitations in the application or registration as to price of the goods, channels of trade, or classes of consumers. Both applicant's and registrant's goods are sold online and at similar price points, suggesting that the channels of trade and classes of purchasers are similar. The Marks: Applicant's mark GAVIOTA means "seagull" in English. The record showed that Spanish is the most common foreign language spoken in the United States. Therefore the doctrine of foreign equivalents applied.Applicant contended that the doctrine does not apply because GAVIOTA has another meaning: "the word 'GAVIOTA' predominantly refers to the southern California beach town of Gaviota, California, and the famous Gaviota State Park, as well as other tourist attractions in the Gaviota area." However, the evidence did not demonstrate that the Gaviota region or the town is well known outside of Southern California. Moreover, the record indicated that "Gaviota State Park takes its name from the Spanish word for seagull, given to the area by soldiers of the Portola Expedition who supposedly killed a seagull while camping here in 1769." Applicant’s evidence does not establish that the alternate geographic meaning would be understood by the relevant purchasing public. Rather, given the large number of Spanish speakers in the United States and the fact that consumers who know of the Gaviota region also might know that it derives its name from the Spanish word for “seagull,” we find it likely that these Spanish speakers would “stop and translate” GAVIOTA into its English equivalent, SEAGULL.The Board acknowledged that the application of the doctrine of foreign equivalents is only part of the analysis, since the similarity in connotation "must be weighed against the dissimilarity in appearance, sound, and all other factors, before reaching a conclusion on likelihood of confusion as to source." Noting that "seagull" is a direct translation of "gaviota," and that SEAGULL is arbitrary for the involved goods and thus a conceptually strong mark, the Board concluded that these factors outweighed the dissimilarities in appearance and sound.Consumer sophistication: As stated above, there were no limitations in the involved application and cited registration as to classes of purchasers, and so the Board must consider all normal classes of consumers. The involved goods are sold online and therefore purchasers may include consumers who are not design or construction professionals. The Board must make its decision in light of the "least sophisticated potential purchasers, which may be ordinary consumers exercising only an ordinary degree of care." Moreover, even careful or sophisticated consumers are not immune to source confusion when similar marks are used for related goods.Conclusion: The Board found confusion likely, and so it affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: The Board also affirmed the requirement that applicant submit an English translation of its mark, which applicant failed to do. See Rule 2.32(a)(9).Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Affirms Trifusal of NRG for Coffee: 2(d), 2(e)(1) Descriptiveness and Deceptive Misdescriptiveness Hitting the trifecta is a good thing, right? Don't bet on it. Applicant Trilliant was hit with a "trifusal" (TM The TTABlog), in its application to register the mark NRG (in standard character form) for "coffee for use in single-serve brewing machines" [COFFEE disclaimed]. The Board found the mark (1) likely to cause confusion with the mark shown immediately below, registered for "coffee and tea," (2) merely descriptive of the goods, and alternatively (3) deceptively misdescriptive of the goods under Section 2(e)(1). In re Trilliant Food and Nutrition, LLC, Serial No. 86850804 (June 1, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Susan J. Hightower). Likelihood of Confusion: The goods of the cited registration encompass applicant's more narrowly identified goods. Extensive evidence of third-party use (e.g., Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts) submitted by Examining Attorney Maureen Dall Lott, along with 17 use-based third-party registrations, demonstrated that "the goods are of a type that may emanate from a single source under the same mark." Applicant Trilliant argued that "ENERGY" and variations thereof are weak formatives for coffee-related products, but its evidence did not meet the "voluminous" standard of Jack Wolfskin and Juice Generation. The Board found, however, that because of the meaning of "energy" in relation to coffee, the strength of the cited marks is "somewhat limited and the mark is entitled to a relatively narrow scope of protection."As to the marks, since the goods are legally identical a lesser degree of similarity between the marks is necessary to support a finding of likely confusion. Trilliant did not dispute that NRG is "an abbreviation for energy." The Board found that consumers would be "highly likely to view and verbalize both NRG, the lead term in Applicant’s mark, and the cited mark identically to the phonetically equivalent term “"energy." The Board agreed with applicant that the marks are visually distinguishable, but Trilliant's lightning bold design "underscores rather than alters the overall impression of the cited mark." Moreover, the literal portion of a word + design mark is given more weight in the likelihood of confusion analysis because it is the part to be verbalized and used by consumers to call for the goods.Observing that "even a 'weak' mark is entitled to protection against a confusingly similar mark for legally identical goods," the Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.Mere Descriptiveness: In response to the Examining Attorney's inquiries, applicant stated that "[t]he goods may contain energy-boosting ingredients such as guarana and ginseng," and it submitted third-party materials for "similar goods," which materials showed the use of the term "energy" to describe the goods. The Examining Attorney submitted additional examples of third-party use. The Board concluded that:to the extent that Applicant’s “coffee for use in single-serve brewing machines” contains energy-boosting ingredients, each term constituting Applicant’s mark is descriptive and retains its descriptive significance in combination. NRG COFFEE, considered as a whole, thus forms a composite that is itself merely descriptive of coffee with energy-boosting ingredients.Deceptive Misdescriptiveness: "To the extent Applicant’s goods do not feature energy-boosting ingredients, NRG COFFEE misdescribes those goods." The Board found it plausible that consumers would believe that NRG COFFEE contains energy-boosting ingredients. Therefore the Board affirmed the alternative Section 2(e)(1) refusal.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: After the appeal was filed, the application was remanded to the Examining Attorney, who then entered the Section 2(e)(1) refusals. For some reason, applicant did not address those refusals in a supplemental appeal brief.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Sustains Opposition to SCOTTSDALE TAXI: Geographically Descriptive and Lacks Acquired Distinctiveness The Board sustained an opposition to registration of the mark SCOTTSDALE TAXI for "taxi transport" services [TAXI disclaimed], finding the mark to be "highly geographically descriptive" and lacking in acquired distinctiveness. Despite applicant's use of the alleged mark since 1994, its evidence of advertising and extent of use was inadequate and it failed to prove substantially exclusive use. Zero Transportation, LLC v. Scottsdale Taxi Sedan Service Co., Opposition No. 91218718 (June 14, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge David Mermelstein).Geographical Descriptiveness: In order to overcome the USPTO's refusal to register under Section 2(e)(2), applicant claimed acquired distinctiveness under Section 2(f), based solely on five years of consecutive and substantially exclusive use. Applicant thus conceded that its mark is primarily geographically descriptive and not inherently distinctive. The Board found it readily apparent that Scottsdale, Arizona is a "is the name of a place known generally to the public." Applicant's customers would immediately make a goods/place association, because the customers and Applicant are located there, and because the services are provided there. The inclusion of the word TAXI "will not obviate a refusal under Trademark Act § 2(e)(2) if the mark as a whole retains its primarily geographic significance."The Board concluded that the applied-for mark "is highly geographically descriptive, and that Applicant bears a commensurately high burden to prove that it has acquired distinctiveness."Acquired Distinctiveness: Although applicant has used the term SCOTTSDALE TAXI since 1994, its evidence regarding the nature and extent of use was meager. Applicant established that it listed its business in telephone directories prior to 2008 but it failed to provide any other evidence of promotion of the term. After 2008, applicant established a website and created social media pages, but applicant provided no evidence as to how many potential customers were exposed to these efforts. Advertising expenditures were a paltry $3000 per year. Not enough, said the Board.Moreover, opposer's evidence showed that others used the term "Scottsdale taxi" in advertising their taxi transport services. The Board concluded that applicant's use of the applied-for mark was not substantially exclusive, and that relevant consumers are not likely to view the term as a source indicator.Applicant contended that opposer's use of the term was causing actual confusion, but the Board deemed such confusion irrelevant, observing that by choosing a highly descriptive phrase applicant ran the risk that confusion would result when competitors legitimately used the phrase to describe their own businesses. See, e.g., KP Permanent Make-Up Inc. v. Lasting Impression I Inc., 543 U.S. 111, 72 USPQ2d 1933, 1938 (2004).Equitable Defense: Applicant argued that opposer's business behavior constituted unclean hands, but the Board declined to apply that defense (regardless of applicant's allegations) because the public interest is not served by allowing registration of primarily geographically descriptive terms.Conclusion: The Board found that applicant failed to meet its burden to demonstrate that SCOTTSDALE TAXI has acquired distinctiveness for its services, and so the opposition was sustained.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Applicant improperly use the R-in-circle symbol in a cease-and-desist letter to opposer, bu the Board found that to be an honest mistake that caused no harm to opposer.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.Ted Davis: 2018 Annual Review of Trademark Cases Thank you Ted Davis for allowing me to post a link (here) to your 2018 outline of trademark decisions. The outline (59 pages) covers both federal court litigation and many TTAB cases. Thanks also to all of you who attended yesterday's Annual Review session in Seattle.Read comments and post your comment here.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Says No to PRETTY PLEASE WITH CHERRY ON TOP? for Ice Cream Here's the scoop. In a brief nine-page opinion, the Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal of the mark PRETTY PLEASE WITH CHERRY ON TOP? for "Ice cream; ice cream bars; ice cream desserts; ice cream sandwiches; ice cream cones," finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the registered mark PRETTY PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ... for "ice cream." Applicant Hy-Vee argued that the cited mark was weak in view of third-party usage, but the Board was unimpressed. In re Hy-Vee, Inc., Serial No. 87222634 (May 30, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Cynthia C. Lynch). Since the involved goods are in part identical, the Board must presume that they travel in the same channels of trade to the same classes of consumers. This not only weighs heavily in favor of a finding of likely confusion, but it also reduces the degree of similarity between the marks that is necessary to support the Section 2(d) refusal.In its attempt to show that the cited mark is commercially weak, Hy-Vee cited three items: a Yelp entry for a "Cherry on Top" ice cream and yogurt shop in Lincoln, Nebraska;  a webpage from Carnival.com referring to a candy shop called "Cherry on Top;" and an article and recipe for "Pretty Please with Cherry on Top" cupcakes. The Board found that this meager evidence fell short of establishing that the cited mark is weak.The Board noted that only one of the three items included the entirety of the cited mark, and only one refers to ice cream. More importantly, there was no evidence of the extent of consumer exposure to these uses. This evidence was "far less voluminous and compelling" than that in Jack Wolfskin and Juice Generation.  This record may indicate some degree of suggestiveness of CHERRY ON TOP, but is insufficient to show that the cited mark is weak. Regardless, even suggestive marks are entitled to appropriate protection against the registration of confusingly similar marks. Turning to the marks, the Board found their connotations and commercial impressions to be essentially the same. As to look and sound, the differences in the marks are "relatively insignificant." In sum, the marks are very similar, and this factor weighed heavily toward a likelihood of confusion.The Board therefore found that confusion is likely and it affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Is this a WYHA?Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Test: Are These Specimens of Use Acceptable for Bottle Caps? The USPTO refused registration of the mark OXZGEN for "[n]on-metal dosing caps for bottles; non-metal dispensing caps for containers," on the ground that applicant's specimens of use (below) failed to show the mark in use with the identified goods. Applicant appealed, arguing that the specimens show "normal packaging" for its goods, that such is the normal "mode of use," and that the mark on the container "functions as a label or tag since it would be impractical to put the mark on the actual dispensing cap." How do you think this came out? In re Wholesale & Retail Distribution, Inc. Serial No. 86586432 (May 30, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Angela Lykos). The Board recognized that when it is impracticable to place the mark on the goods, the packaging for the goods, or associated displays, the USPTO may accept another document related to the goods or their sale. The TMEP provides several examples of situations of such "impracticability": natural gas, grain sold in bulk, or chemicals sold only in tanker cars.  Applicant's goods, the Board observed, "are in no way analogous" to natural gas, grain sold in bulk, or chemicals sold in tanker cars. The Board agreed with Examining Attorney Toby E. Bulloff that the mark OXZGEN is used as a trademark for beverages (which goods applicant had deleted from the application),  not for the identified goods.The dosing and dispensing caps are an integral component of the bottles in which the beverages are sold, and as Applicant has confirmed, the caps are not sold separately. In other words, consumers are purchasing Applicant's beverages, not the dispensing and dosing caps.And so the Board affirmed the refusal.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: WYHA?Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.Precedential No. 17: TTAB Grants Section 2(d) Petition for Cancellation of KEMI OYL Registration; Laches Defense Fails The Board granted this petition for cancellation of a registration for the mark KEMI OYL for cosmetics and personal care products, finding the mark likely to cause confusion with opposer's identical mark previously used for overlapping goods. In stipulating to invoke the Board Accelerated Case Resolution procedure, the parties agreed that the sole issue for resolution was priority, but that respondent could pursue its affirmative defense of laches. Kemi Organics, LLC v. Rakesh Gupta, Cancellation No. 92065613 (May 15, 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Christopher Larkin). Priority/Abandonment: Respondent was allowed to rely on the filing date of its underlying trademark application, which in turn claimed the priority of its U.K. filing under Section 44(d) (in 2010). While there was some question as to what exact date respondent was entitled to because respondent misstated the foreign filing date in his application, that was of no consequence since petitioner established its use before the earlier priority date.Section 2(d) provides a ground for cancellation based upon likelihood of confusion with "a mark ... previously used in the United States ... and not abandoned .... A mark is deemed abandoned when its use has been discontinued with intent not to resume use." Respondent asserted abandonment as a defense to petitioner's claim of prior use.Looking at the record as a whole, as required, the Board found that petitioner's documentary evidence had little or no probative value. However, its principal witness testified that petitioner sold hair and skin care product under the KEMI OYL mark for more than thirty years, that the products are sold throughout the United States, and that annual sales for the years 2010 through 2016 have been in the six-figure range.Respondent contended that petitioner's testimony failed to establish that the KEMI OYL mark was in continuous use, but the Board pointed out that "continuous use is not required to establish petitioner's priority."Section 2(d) “does not speak of ‘continuous use,’ but rather of whether the mark or trade name has been ‘previously used in the United States by another and not abandoned.’” West Fla. Seafood, 31 USPQ2d at 1665. *** Although the record as a whole suggests sporadic past use of the KEMI OYL mark, Petitioner is only required to show “proprietary rights in its pleaded common-law mark that precede [Respondent’s] actual or constructive use of its involved mark,” Exec. Coach Builders, 123 USPQ2d at 1180, which rights were not thereafter abandoned. West Fla. Seafood, 31 USPQ2d at 1665.The Board observed that even if petitioner abandoned the KEMI OYL mark through non-use from 2001-2005, as respondent claimed, or at some other point, it was respondent's burden to show that petitioner did not resume use before respondents priority date.Respondent's attacks on the probative value and credibility of petitioner's witness were rejected by the Board. "[O]ral testimony of even a single witness may be adequate to establish priority ... if sufficiently probative. Such testimony should not be characterized by contradictions, inconsistencies, and indefiniteness but should carry with it conviction of its accuracy and applicability." Although the witness's testimony declaration was "far from being a model of clarity and completeness" and was not accompanied by "the type or quantity of documentary evidence that one would expect to be readily available" to show use of a supposedly famous mark, the critical portions of his testimony were clear and neither contradicted by respondent nor indefinite or internally inconsistent. The Board found that this testimony "established, at minimum, that Petitioner used the KEMI OYL mark at least as early as 2010, prior to Respondent's constructive use date, and that Petitioner has not abandoned the mark." The Board was also persuaded by two third-party witnesses who sold petitioner's products from a time prior to respondent's constructive use date."Petitioner's evidence of prior use stands unrebutted." Therefore, the Board concluded, petitioner was entitled to cancellation of respondent's registration, unless respondent could establish its claim of laches.Laches: Section 19 provides that in "all inter partes proceeding equitable principles of laches, estoppel, and acquiescense, where applicable, may be considered and applied." Laches requires undue or unreasonable delay and resulting prejudice. Respondent's registration issued on June 3, 2014 and this proceeding was commenced on March 14, 2017. Respondent contended that petitioner was on notice of his mark on May 1, 2013, when petitioner's pending application was suspended based on respondent's (non-use based) underlying application. The Board was unimpressed, noting that respondent cited no authority for the proposition that "the prospective citation of Respondent's intent-to-use application . . . put Respondent on notice of Respondent's use of his mark." There was no evidence that the mark was in use at the time, and in fact respondent's statement of use alleged a first use date of November 1, 2013.In the absence of evidence of Petitioner’s actual knowledge of Respondent’s actual use of his mark prior to the close of the opposition period, the June 3, 2014 date of registration is the operative date for laches. Ava Ruha Corp., 113 USPQ2d at 1580.Although petitioner's delay was a bit less than three years, shorter and slightly longer periods of delay have sufficed to support a laches defense. The Board then turned to consideration of the reasons for the delay. Shortly after the registration issued, the parties exchanged correspondence but after respondent provided information about his mark, petitioner was silent for two years. During that period, petitioner's pending application was abandoned and revived on three separate occasions, but ultimately went abandoned. In a letter in June 2016, petitioner stated that it had priority and accused respondent of being the infringer. There was no testimony explaining why petitioner waited another nine months or so to file its petition. Petitioner's claim that its delay was justified by the claim that respondent's use of the marks was inconspicuous was supported by discovery responses, which indicated that his sales between 2014 and 2016 were negligible. The Board observed that "The defense of laches is not determined by adherence to rigid legal rules; rather, we analyze laches by a consideration of the specific facts and a balancing of the respective interests and equities of the parties, as well as of the general public.” Jansen Enters. Inc. v. Rind, 85 USPQ2d 1104, 1117 (TTAB 2007). Noting respondent's negligible sales and his inaction after July 2014, the Board found petitioner's delay to be not unreasonable, and it concluded that respondent failed to prove its laches defense.For completeness, the Board also considered respondent's claim of prejudice but found it unsupported. Respondent's sales increased 18-fold from 2015 to 2016, but that was only from about $500 to $7000, and his sales trended downward in 2017. Thus respondent did not, as he claimed, build up "valuable business and goodwill" during the relevant period. The Board concluded that this lack of prejudice was a further ground for denial of the laches defense. And so the Board dismissed the petition for cancellation.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Test: Are Collectible Toy Figures Related to Plush Toys For Purposes of Section 2(d)? The USPTO refused registration of the mark PINT SIZE HEROES in standard character and Stylized form for "Collectable toy figures," finding confusion likely with the registered mark PINT SIZE PRODUCTIONS & Design for “plush toys; stuffed and plush toys; stuffed toy animals" [PRODUCTIONS disclaimed]. On appeal, applicant argued that it was not seeking to register its mark for plush or stuffed animals, that registrant's customers are shopping for baby board books that are accompanied by stuffed toys, and that the marks are different because applicant's mark is "ironic" while the cited mark is literal. How do you think this came out? In re Funko, LLC, Serial Nos. 87171233 and 87171228 (March 15, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge David K. Heasley).The Goods: As to applicant's assertion that it is not seeking registration of its mark for plush toys, the Board observed that "the identifications are not mutually exclusive, as collectable toy figures can consist of stuffed and/or plush toys." Applicant itself sells plush toys that are collectable toy figures and so the good in the identifications can overlap. Applicant also argued that registrant's customers are shopping for baby books sold with accompanying stuffed toys, but the Board must consider the goods as described in the application and cited registration, without extrinsic evidence of actual use.Examining Attorney Katerina D. Satanovsky submitted a raft of evidence to show the relatedness of the goods, including Internet web pages and some 40 use-based third-party registrations covering the types of goods at issue. The Board found these registrations to be "persuasive evidence that the identified goods are of a type that may emanate from a single source under a single mark."Thus the second du Pont factor weighed in favor of a finding of likely confusion.Channels of Trade: The evidence showed that toy figures and stuffed toys are offered for sale in the same channels of trade - retail toy stores like Buy Buy Baby and Disney Store - to the same classes of consumers.The Marks: As to the standard character mark PINT SIZE HEROES, applicant contended that its mark "immediately communicates irony, especially when used in connection with collectable super-her figures. In contrast, PINT SIZE PRODUCTIONS is literal: the goods feature and are for babies and toddlers." The Board, however, found the marks to be "more similar than dissimilar, in important respects."The first two words in the marks are the same, and the prominence of PINT SIZE is enhanced by its placement at the beginning of both marks. The pronunciation and meaning of PINT SIZE would be the same in both marks. Moreover, the marks have the same structure, with the dominant component PINT SIZE followed by a single word. "Applicant's attempt to distinguish its mark's 'ironic' commercial impression is unavailing, for if the dominant portion of both marks is the same, then the marks may be confusingly similar notwithstanding peripheral differences." Given the related nature of the goods, the applied-for mark could be taken by consumers as another line of goods produced by PINT SIZE PRODUCTIONS.As to its stylized mark, applicant contended that the marks differ in appearance, emphasis, and pronunciation. It claimed that HEROES is the dominant part of its mark, since it is twice the size of PINT SIZE, and the letter "H" is the leftmost portion of the mark and will be the first read. The cited mark, on the other hand, emphasizes PINT SIZE. Moreover, the registered mark is in pastel colors with a child-like handwriting style. "Funko's brand is built on striking pop-culture graphics, and PSP's is built on soft, warm, cuddly graphics."The Board, however, agreed with the examining attorney that the verbal similarity between the marks outweighs their dissimilarity in design. The "verbal portion" of a word + design mark will likely appear alone in text and will be spoken when consumers ask for the goods. Of course, applicant's mark (with no color claim) could be used in colors similar to those of the registered mark.Applicant's suggestion that HEROES would be the first word read in its mark was belied by its own application and its appeal brief, which refer to the mark as consisting of "the stylized text "PINT SIZE HEROES.' The smaller sized text used for PINT SIZE serves to "reinforce the connotation and commercial impression that the toy figures are PINT SIZE - i.e., very small." Therefore the term PINT SIZE is likely to make a greater impression upon consumers. Conclusion: Finding that confusion is likely, the Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusals.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: What do you think?Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.CAFC Vacates and Remands: TTAB Applied Wrong Test in Finding ZERO Not Generic for Soft Drinks The CAFC vacated the TTAB's decision of May 23, 2016 [TTABlogged here], in which the Board found that opposers failed to prove that the term ZERO is generic for soft drinks and sports drinks. The Board also found that Applicant Coca-Cola had established acquired distinctiveness in the term ZERO for soft drinks. The appellate court, however, ruled that the Board "erred in its legal framing" of the genericness issue and erred in failing to assess the level of descriptiveness of the term ZERO. Royal Crown Company, Inc. and Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. v. The Coca-Cola Company, Appeal No. 2016-2375 (June 20, 2018) [precedential].Opposers asserted that ZERO is either generic for, or merely descriptive of, applicant's soft drinks and sports drinks, and therefore that ZERO must be  disclaimed in the applied-for marks (including, for example, COCA-COLA ZERO). Genericness: The court ruled that the Board "asked the wrong question" in determining the genericness of ZERO: "it failed to consider that 'a term can be generic for a genus of goods or services if the relevant public . . . understands the term to refer to a key aspect of that genus." In re Cordua Rests., Inc., 823 F.3d 594, 603 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (emphasis added). In Cordua, the CAFC also pointed out that "the test is not whether the relevant public would itself use the term to describe the genus but also whether the relevant public would understand the term to be generic." Id. at 602 (alteration in original) (quoting In re 1800Mattress.com IP, LLC, 586 F.3d 1359, 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2009)). Moreover, "a term is generic if the relevant public understands the term to refer to part of the claimed genus of goods or services, even if the public does not understand the term to refer to the broad genus as a whole." Id. at 605 (emphasis added).In In re Cordua, we found that the term “churrasco” was generic, even for use in connection with a broad class of restaurant services, because the key public would understand the term to be referring to a specialty dish—a sub-aspect of restaurant services. Id. at 604. We made clear that “[t]here is no logical reason to treat differently a term that is generic of a category or class of products where some but not all of the goods identified in an application fall within that category.” Id. at 605 (quoting In re Analog Devices, Inc., 1988 WL 252496, at *3 (T.T.A.B. Mar. 21, 1988)). We pointed out, for instance, that the term “pizzeria” would be generic for restaurant services, even though the public does not understand the term to refer to the broad class of restaurants as a whole; the public need only understand that the term refers to “a particular sub-group or type of restaurant rather than to all restaurants.” Id.The court explained that if the public understands ZERO, when used with a designated beverage name, refers to a sub-group or type of beverage that carries specific characteristics, then the term is generic. The Board "failed to consider whether consumers would consider the term ZERO to be generic for a subcategory of the claimed genus of beverages - i.e., the subcategory of the claimed beverages encompassing the specialty beverage categories of drinks with few or no calories of few or no carbohydrates."The court instructed the Board to consider, on remand, whether ZERO is generic because it "refers to at key aspect of at least a sub-group or type of the claimed beverage goods."Descriptiveness: The Board also erred by determining the issue of acquired distinctiveness without first properly determining the extent of opposers' burden of proof. Opposers asserted that ZERO was so highly descriptive that "the Board's assessment of [applicant's] evidence must be exacting."The CAFC has long held that an applicant's burden of showing acquired distinctiveness increases with the level of descriptiveness. Steelbuilding.com, 415 F.3d at 1300; see also In re Boston Beer Co., 198 F.3d 1370, 1373 (Fed. Cir. 1999). The Board, however, did not make any finding as to the degree of descriptiveness of ZERO and thus did not view the evidence "through an exacting lens."On remand, the Board "must make an express finding regarding the degree of the mark's (sic) descriptiveness on the scale ranging from generic to merely descriptive, and it must explain how its assessment of the evidentiary record reflects that finding."Evidentiary Issues:  The CAFC noted several concerns with the treatment of the relevant evidence. First, opposers were not required, despite the Board's intimations otherwise, to provide direct evidence of consumer perception to support their genericness claim. Evidence regarding genericness may be obtained from any competent source, including consumer surveys, dictionaries, newspapers and other publications. Survey and/or dictionary evidence is not required.Second, the Board's was wrong in its position that the ubiquity of applicant's ZERO product and its massive sales figures helped to outweigh opposers' evidence of genericness. Generic terms "cannot be rescued by proof of distinctiveness or secondary meaning no matter how voluminous the proffered evidence may be." Northland Aluminum, 777 F.2d at 1558 (alteration in original) (quoting  Examiner); see also Weiss Noodle Co. v. Golden Cracknel & Specialty Co., 290 F.2d 845, 847–48 (CCPA 1961). This type of evidence may be relevant to the issue of acquired distinctiveness, but not to genericness.Finally, the Board also noted that applicant's survey evidence was of questionable probative value, since the survey was conducted more than five years before the testimony periods in these proceedings and thus could not reflect contemporary public perception, particularly in light of the evidence of third-party use in the intervening years.Conclusion: "Because the Board applied the incorrect legal standard in assessing whether TCCC’s ZERO marks (sic) are generic, and did not adequately consider Royal Crown’s evidence with respect thereto, we vacate the Board’s dismissal of Royal Crown’s oppositions on that ground. We also vacate the Board’s acquired distinctiveness determination to allow it, in the first instance, to assess the nature of TCCC’s burden on that point and to explain how the evidence presented meets that precise burden."Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment:  Don't recall seeing the terms "key public" or "exacting lens" before. Also, the case concerned the term ZERO by itself, not whether the entire marks are generic or lack acquired distinctiveness.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.Precedential No. 21: TTAB Extends Safer Requirements to Internet Evidence Submitted by Applicants In yet another decision involving the admissibility of Internet evidence, the Board made clear that its recent ruling in In re Mueller Sports Medicine [TTABlogged here] extends to trademark applicants as well as examining attorneys. In Mueller, the Board held that Internet evidence submitted by an examining attorney that did not include the date of access and the pertinent URL was objectionable. Here, the evidence at issue was submitted by the applicant. However, since this applicant's faulty submission occurred prior to issuance of the Mueller decision, the Board decided to consider the evidence. Nonetheless, the Board affirmed Section 2(d) refusals of the mark INDIGO in standard character form and in the design forms shown below [AR disclaimed] for "optical lenses, namely, corrective lenses sold through eye care professionals," in view of the registered mark INDIGO for "ski glasses, ski goggles, goggles for sports, protective sport helmets; sunglasses, bags specifically adapted for protective helmets.” In re I-Coat Company, LLC, Serial Nos. 86802467, 86802618, and 86802733 (June 7, 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Peter W. Cataldo).Internet evidence: In the past, the Board preferred, but did not require, that a webpage submitted by an applicant "be identified by the full address (url) for the web page, and the date it was downloaded, either by the information printed on the web page itself, or by providing this information in an Office action or an applicant's response." TBMP Section 1208.03; see also In re Max Capital Grp. Ltd., 93 USPQ2d 1243, 1245 n.6 (TTAB 2010). [The Board noted that the better practice is to print or otherwise display the URL and access date on the documents themselves. Alternatively, the URL and access date may be provided by declaration].Website evidence submitted without the URL and access date "lacks authenticity and cannot be readily verified by the non-offering party." In In re Mueller Sports Medicine, Inc., 126 USPQ2d 1584, 1587 (TTAB 2018), the Board ruled that "to properly make such website evidence of record, a trademark examining attorney must include the URL and the date when the material was accessed, and . . . if an examining attorney fails to do so, and the applicant objects, the material will not be considered. According to the Board, it there "stated [its] intention" to hold applicants to the same standard. [In Mueller, the Board did not merely state its intention to extend the Safer requirements to applicants. It said: "we further extend these requirements to both examining attorneys and applicants in ex parte proceedings." - ed.]. In accordance with our decision in Mueller Sports Medicine, we will no longer consider Internet evidence filed by an applicant in an ex parte proceeding to be properly of record unless the URL and access or print date has been identified, either directly on the webpage itself, or by providing this information in a response, except where the examining attorney does not object.Here, because applicant submitted its evidence during prosecution of the subject applications (with its request for reconsideration), prior to the Mueller decision, the Board chose to consider the website evidence submitted by Applicant . Likelihood of confusion: The Board's Section 2(d) analysis was straightforward. Applicant I-Coat, in an effort to show the weakness of the word "INDIGO," submitted three third-party registrations and Internet evidence from three websites. The Board again recognized that, in determining the degree of weakness of the shared terms, it must “adequately account for the apparent force of [third-party use and registration] evidence,” regardless of whether “specifics” pertaining to the extent and impact of such use have been proven. Juice Generation, Inc. v. GS Enters. LLC, 115 USPQ2d 1671, 1674-5 (Fed. Cir. 2015). “[E]xtensive evidence of third-party use and registrations is ‘powerful on its face,’ even where the specific extent and impact of the usage has not been established.” Jack Wolfskin Ausrustung Fur Draussen GmbH & Co. KGAA v. New Millennium Sports, S.L.U., 116 USPQ2d 1129, 1136 (Fed. Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 982 (2016) (citing Juice Generation v. GS Enters., 115 USPQ2d at 1674).As to the three websites, the Board found that this evidence fell "well short of the volume of evidence found convincing in Jack Wolfskin and Juice Generation." The three registrations involved marks (GREAT NORTHWEST INDIGO, INDIGOFERRA, and INDIGO SCHUY) significantly different from the marks at issue. Moreover, only two of the registrations recited goods identified in the cited registration, and none of the marks are as similar to the cited mark INDIGO as are applicant's marks. In sum the totality of applicant's evidence failed to show that INDIGO is significantly weak in connection with the involved goods.As to the two word + design marks, the Board found the word INDIGO to be the dominant feature. The evidence established that the disclaimed term "AR" is an acronym for "anti-reflective" and identifies a feature of the goods. In addition, "AR" is displayed in much smaller type than INDIGO. The rectangle-with-folded-corner design does not create a commercial impression separate from the wording but rather serves merely as a frame therefor. Of course, it is settled that the literal portion of a word + design mark will likely be the dominant portion. And so the Board concluded that the differences between the cited mark INDIGO and applicant's word + design marks were outweighed by the similarity in appearance sound and meaning.Third-party website and registration evidence established that registrant's sunglasses and applicant's optical lenses travel in the same channels of trade. Although applicant's goods are limited to sale "through eye care professionals," there are no limitations in the cited registration. Examining Attorney Jonathan Ryan O'Rourke submitted evidence that both corrective lenses and sunglasses are sold on the same webpages.Assuming that the purchasers of the involved goods will be more careful purchasers - seeking vision correction and vision enhancement by eye protection - the Board observed once again that even careful, sophisticated consumers are likely to believe that such goods emanate from the same source when sold under identical or similar marks.Conclusion: The Board found confusion likely and it affirmed the refusals to register. Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: The Board called applicant's evidence of third-party use and registration, "modest." I sometimes use the word "feeble" in such circumstances.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Test: Is "FOUNDIT THEFT RECOVERY" Confusable With "IFI I FOUND IT" for GPS Tracking Devices? The USPTO refused registration of the mark FOUNDIT THEFT RECOVERY for "GPS tracking devices, namely, personal asset tracker, personal tracker, vehicle tracker" (THEFT RECOVERY disclaimed), finding it likely to cause confusion with the registered mark IFI I FOUND IT (in stylized form with design) for "electronic devices for locating and tracking lost articles using radio frequency, global positioning systems, and/or cellular communication networks." The Board found that applicant’s goods are broad enough to encompass the cited goods, making the goods legally identical in-part. But what about the marks? How do you think this came out? In re Spy Tec International Inc., Serial No. 87543668 (June 13, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Francie R. Gorowitz).We know that when the involved goods are identical (in-part) a lesser degree of similarity between the marks is necessary to support a finding of likely confusion. Moreover, "when a mark contains both words and designs, the verbal portion of the mark is normally more likely to indicate the origin of the goods to which it is affixed because it is the portion of the mark that consumers would use to refer to or request the goods."The Board found the dominant part of the cited mark to be the literal phrase I FOUND IT. The dominant part of applicant’s mark is the term FOUNDIT since it is both the first part of the mark and the only element that is not disclaimed. "The first part of a mark is frequently the most dominant portion thereof."Applicant argued that “the word ‘found’ in relation to Registrant’s electronic devices for locating lost articles is not very distinctive.” The Board acknowledged that the word, “found” may be weak in connection with registrant’s goods, but it pointed out once again that “even suggestive or weak marks are entitled to protection from the use of a very similar mark for legally identical[goods].” Viewing the marks in their entireties with the non-dominant features appropriately discounted, we find the Cited Mark and the mark FOUNDIT THEFT RECOVERY are similar in meaning and sound and that the similarities in the marks outweigh any dissimilarities. Similarity as to one element (e.g., sight, sound, or meaning) has been held sufficient to support a finding of confusing similarity. Interstate Brands Corp. v. McKee Foods Corp., 53 USPQ2d 1910, 1914 (TTAB 2000) (“It is not necessary that marks be similar in all three of the elements of sight, sound, and meaning to support a finding of likelihood of confusion.”).And so the Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Well, how did you do?Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.Recommended Reading: TTAB Chief Judge Rogers Interview Here's an interesting article in World Intellectual Property Review (May 23, 2018), interviewing TTAB Chief Judge Gerard F. Rogers. (link). Note particularly his view on the impact, or lack thereof, of the B&B Hardware decision on TTAB practice. Read comments and post your comment here.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Test: Are SAVORY ROASTERS and HEARTY ROASTERS Confusable for Pet Food? The USPTO refused registration of the mark SAVORY ROASTERS for "pet food; pet treats" [SAVORY disclaimed], deeming the mark likely to cause confusion with the registered mark HEARTY ROASTERS for "pet food." Applicant argued that ROASTERS is "clearly designed to be suggestive of the goods," and thus is not the dominant portion of the marks. How do you think this appeal came out? In re DPC Pet Specialties LLC, Serial No. 86951910 (June 6, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Linda Kuczma).The Goods: Because the goods are in part identical, those overlapping goods must be presumed to travel through the same, normal channels of trade to the same classes of purchasers. Moreover, as to applicant's pet treat products, Examining Attorney Gidette Cuello submitted evidence showing the same entity commonly manufactures or sells pet treats and pet food under the same mark. Thus these factors strongly favored a finding of likelihood of confusion.The Marks: The Board found that the terms SAVORY and HEARTY do not detract from the similarities of the marks. Both words are adjectives used to favorably describe food or its attributes. While the two words may have different connotations, they have little, if any, source-identifying significance because they are descriptive or highly suggestive of pet food products - as reflected in applicant's disclaimer of SAVORY and as evidenced by the submitted dictionary definitions.Applicant argued that "the shared element of the mark[s] - ROASTERS - is clearly designed to be suggestive of the goods being sold," and therefore that the Examining Attorney was wrong in concluding that ROASTERS is the dominant portion of applicant's mark.The Board observed that it must consider the marks in their entireties. Although the leading descriptive elements in the marks differ visually and aurally, "consumers familiar with Registrant's HEARTY ROASTERS pet food may well conclude that Applicant's SAVORY ROASTERS pet food and pet treats are a new line of pet food from the maker of HEARTY ROASTERS pet food."Moreover, the Board observed once again, when the goods of the parties are identical or as closely related, a lesser degree of similarity between the marks is necessary to support a finding of likely confusion.The Board concluded that the marks are sufficiently similar in appearance, sound, connotation, and commercial impression for confusion to be likely.And so the Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Applicant did not provide any evidence that the term ROASTERS has descriptive significance when applied to pet food.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.Trademark Expo July 27-28 Includes Free CLE on Right of Publicity and on Ethics The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, in collaboration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, will host the 2018 National Trademark Exposition on July 27 and 28 at the National Museum of American History, 1300 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20560. The exposition is a free, family-friendly event featuring educational workshops, exhibits and hands-on activities demonstrating the important role trademarks play in our economy and our lives. Children's activities, including scavenger hunts, interactive games, and trademark design workshops, will be offered both days. [more details here and at www.uspto.gov/TMExpo.] As part of the 2018 National Trademark Exposition, two free continuing legal education (CLE) seminars will be offered to legal professionals: Who Owns You After You Die - Inside the Estates of Deceased CelebritiesFriday, July 27, 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.This seminar will be moderated by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, professional basketball legend, author, and registered trademark owner, and his business manager, Deborah Morales. Panelists will include Jennifer E. Rothman, a leading expert on right of publicity and Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and Priya P. Royal, managing attorney and founder of the Royal Law Firm, PLLC. Legal Ethics SeminarFriday, July 27, 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.This seminar will be delivered by William R. Covey, United States Patent and Trademark Office Deputy General Counsel and Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). OED is responsible for registering attorneys and agents to practice before the USPTO and the presentation will cover a variety of issues, including OED rules, programs and statistics, as well as related case law. TO REGISTER send an email with your name, bar number, and seminar you wish to attend to TMExpo@USPTO.GOV with “CLE Registration” in the subject line. Registration is limited to 100 attendees per seminar and closes on July 10. The USPTO is seeking CLE accreditation for the seminars. Read comments and post your comment here.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.THE TROPICS for Restaurant Services Confusable With TROPIXX for Nightclub Services, Says TTAB In a bit of a snoozer, the Board affirmed Section 2(d) refusals of the mark THE TROPICS for "providing foods and drinks; providing of food and drink via a mobile truck; restaurant; catering services" (class 43) and the words + design mark shown below for "entertainment services in the nature of organizing social entertainment events; entertainment services, namely, live musical and dance performances; night club services, namely, conducting parties" (class 41). The Board found the marks likely to cause confusion with the registered mark TROPIXX for various entertainment services, including nightclub services and live performances by musical bands. In re Thomas William Brewer and Mary M. Brewer, Serial Nos. 87503471 and 87504846 (June 4, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge George C. Pologeorgis).The Marks: The Board observed that the word TROPICS is the phonetic equivalent of TROPIXX, and it concluded that the marks have the same connotation and commercial impression. Of course, the verbal portion of the words + design mark is given greater weight, since it is the portion that purchasers would use to call for the services. The word "The" in applicants' marks has no trademark significance.Applicants feebly argued that the "XX" in the cited mark could mean kisses, or the number 20, or an extra-large size. Alternatively, the letters PIXX, according to Applicants, convey the meaning of "picture" or "pictures." The Board was unmoved, since applicant failed to provide any evidence that consumers would so interpret the cited mark.The Board concluded that the first du Pont factor supported the refusals.The Services: Applicant's class 41 services include "night club services," as does the cited registration. "Registration must be refused if confusion would be likely as to any services recited in an application." Examining Attorney Anna H. Rosenblatt submitted third-party registration and use evidence showing that the remainder of the class 41 services are closely related to registrant's services.As to applicants' class 43 services, again third-party registrations and usage evidence demonstrated that these third parties offer services relating to the provision of food and beverages, and entertainment services in the nature of live entertainment, catering services and night club services, under the same mark.Channels of Trade: Because some of the involved services overlap, the Board must presume that they travel in the same, normal channels of trade to the usual classes of consumers. As to the non-identical services, the third-party website evidence showed that these services may be provided in the same market to overlapping customers.Conclusion: The Board therefore affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal to register. Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: WYHA?Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.PIRATE PISS for Beer Not Confusable With PYRAT for Rum, Says TTAB The Board dismissed an opposition to registration of PIRATE PISS for "beer, ale and lager," finding that confusion is not likely with the registered mark PYRAT for "“distilled spirits” (and PYRAT RUM for “rum”). Opposer's evidence that beer and rum are related was inadequate, and its reliance on past Board decisions to prove that relationship was misplaced. Patrón Spirits International AG v. Conyngham Brewing Company, Opposition No. 91226939 (June 8, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Thomas W. Wellington).The Goods: Opposer submitted copies of 13 third-party registrations for marks covering both beer and rum. However, only six were use-based registrations. The other seven were based on ownership of foreign registrations with no claim of use in commerce, and therefore were irrelevant.The Board found this evidence "not very convincing." "While there is no threshold number, six relevant registrations is a relatively small number given the number of breweries and beer brands in the U.S." Moreover, registrations are not evidence that the marks have actually been used [ever? why not? - ed.] or that consumers are aware of the use. In short, "there is insufficient evidence of third parties using the same mark in connection with beer and rum, or evidence that a maker of rum also actually produces beer."As to prior Board decisions, "[t]here is no per se rule that holds that all alcoholic beverages are related." In re White Rock Distilleries Inc., 92 USPQ2d 1282, 1285 (TTAB 2009). Each case must be decided on its own record. "Put simply, Opposer cannot evade its burden to prove relatedness by bootstrapping upon previous factual findings made in other decisions on different records." The Board went on to note that the evidence of relatedness here "pales in comparison to the records in many of the decisions where beer was found to be related to other alcoholic beverages." If the marks at issue were identical or highly similar, less evidence of relatedness might be required, but that is not the case here.Therefore the Board found that the second du Pont factor did not weigh in opposer's favor.Strength of the word PIRATE: In attempting to show that PIRATE is a weak formative, applicant submitted three use-based registrations - nowhere near enough to prove its point. Registrations alone are not evidence that the marks are in use or that the consuming public is aware of them. Opposer contended that its mark PYRAT is well known, pointing to various awards, advertisements, recipes mentioning PYRAT rum, online retail stores featuring PYRAT rum, etc. However, these materials were not accompanied by any testimony to verify the truth of the documents or put them in context. Therefore the Board found the fifth and sixth du Pont factors to be neutral.The Marks: The word "pyrat" is an archaic alternative spelling of "pirate." It will be so understood by consumers, "albeit in an archaic spelling that will perhaps connote the golden age of piracy." The two terms will sound the same and share a visual similarity. However, the marks at issue differ in connotation and commercial impression: Opposer’s mark simply conjures a feeling of nostalgia for “pirates” or “piracy,” and this is certainly enhanced in the context of the goods, inasmuch as there is a strong association between rum and pirates. Applicant’s mark, PIRATE PISS, on the other hand, conjures the vulgar image of urine from a pirate. In the context of Applicant’s beer, and for better or worse, the mark will likely be understood as a humorous, self-deprecating description of a quality or strength of the beer or simply just as an arbitrary vulgar expression. Nevertheless, the strong image and commercial impression of Applicant’s mark, PIRATE PISS, distinguishes it from Opposer’s PYRAT mark.The Board therefore found that the first du Pont factor weighed in applicant's favor.Conclusion: Given the weak record evidence regarding the relationship between rum and beer, and despite the fact that the goods travel in the same channels of trade to the same classes of consumers, the Board found no likelihood of confusion and it dismissed the opposition. Read comments and post your comment hereTTABlog comment: I'm a bit surprised that Major League Baseball didn't oppose.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Finds HOUSTON BITES Merely Descriptive of Website Featuring Restaurants [I will not make any references to the recent demise of the Houston Rockets]. In an opinion of a mere six pages, the Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) refusal to register HOUSTON BITES, finding the mark to be merely descriptive of "[p]roviding a website featuring non-downloadable photographs regarding restaurants, food and beverages" [HOUSTON disclaimed]. In re Houston Bites, LLC, Serial No. 87170141 (June 4, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Angela Lykos).Examining Attorney Douglas M. Lee submitted a dictionary entry for Houston ("a city of southeast Texas near Galveston Bay"), and one for "bites" (an informal term meaning "a light meal or snack").The Board found that the combination HOUSTON BITES is merely descriptive of Applicant's Internet content provision services. This conclusion was bolstered by evidence of third-party use of "bites" preceded by a geographic location to identify websites featuring restaurant and food reviews (e.g., CHICAGO BITES, JERSEY BITES). In sum, Applicant’s proposed mark immediately conveys, without need for conjecture or speculation, a feature of Applicant’s services, namely that the subject matter of the photographs displayed on Applicant’s website is light meals and snacks available in Houston, Texas.And so the Board affirmed the refusal.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: WYHA?Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.Precedential No. 20: Prior Registration of 5IVE RESTAURANT Fails to Shield 5IVE STEAKHOUSE From Section 2(d) Refusal In a precedential, ruling, the Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal of the mark 5IVE STEAKHOUSE & Design (below left) in view of the registered mark 5IVESTEAK (Stylized), both for "restaurant and bar services." Applicant's third-party registration evidence was unsatisfying, and its reliance on its prior registration of a similar mark lacked sizzle. In re Inn at St. John’s, LLC, Serial No. 87075988 (June 6, 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Marc A. Bergsman). Third-party registration and usage: In an effort to show that 5IVE is a weak formative. applicant pointed to 21 registrations and applications for marks that include that word, two registrations for marks that include FIFTH for restaurant services , and one registration for 51 FIFTEEN for restaurant and bar services.The Board pointed out that pending applications are not evidence of use of the marks. Nike Inc. v. WNBA Enters. LLC, 85 USPQ2d 1187, 1193 n.8 (TTAB 2007); Interpayment Servs. Ltd. v. Docters & Thiede, 66 USPQ2d 1463, 1468 n.6 (TTAB 2003). Second, only five of the submitted registrations related to restaurant and bar services, and therefore the others have limited probative value. See In re i.am.symbolic, LLC, 123 USPQ2d at 1751 Moreover, one of the five registrations had been cancelled and therefore had no probative value. In re Kysela Pere et Fils Ltd., 98 USPQ2d 1261, 1264 (TTAB 2011). Two of the remaining four registrations were for related but not identical services and the other two covered identical services but contained the non-identical term "FIFTH." There was no evidence of third-party usage; only evidence of "just a few" third-party registrations. The Board pointed out once again that the "“existence of [third-party] registrations is not evidence of what happens in the marketplace or that customers are familiar with them.” AMF Inc. v. Am. Leisure Prods., Inc., 474 F.2d 1403, 177 USPQ 268, 269 (CCPA 1973). Nevertheless, in determining the degree of weakness, if any, in the shared terms, we must “adequately account for the apparent force of [third-party use and registration] evidence,” regardless of whether “specifics” pertaining to the extent and impact of such use have been proven. Juice Generation, Inc. v. GS Enters. LLC, 794 F.3d 1334, 115 USPQ2d 1671, 1674-5 (Fed. Cir. 2015). “[E]xtensive evidence of third-party use and registrations is ‘powerful on its face,’ even where the specific extent and impact of the usage has not been established.” Jack Wolfskin Ausrustung Fur Draussen GmbH & Co. KGAA v. New Millennium Sports, S.L.U., 797 F.3d 1363, 116 USPQ2d 1129, 1136 (Fed. Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 982 (2016) (citing Juice Generation v. GS Enters., 115 USPQ2d at 1674).However, unlike Juice Generation, where "extensive evidence" of third-party registration and use of similar marks was deemed "powerful on its face," applicant here presented no evidence of use and at most four third-party registrations of varying probative value (two for non-identical services and two for non-identical terms). "This is a far cry from the large quantum of evidence of third-party use and third-party registrations that was held to be significant in both Jack Wolfskin v. New Millennium Sports, 116 USPQ2d at 1136, and Juice Generation v. GS Enters., 115 USPQ2d at 1674. Therefore the Board considered this 6th du Pont factor to be neutral.The marks: The Board again observed that when the involved services are identical, as here, a lesser degree of similarity between the marks is necessary to support a finding of likelihood of confusion. Coach Servs., Inc. v. Triumph Learning LLC, 668 F.3d 1356, 101 USPQ2d 1713, 1721 (Fed. Cir. 2012); Century 21 Real Estate Corp. v. Century Life of Am., 970 F.2d 874, 23 USPQ2d 1698, 1700 (Fed. Cir. 1992).The Board found the marks to be "highly similar" in appearance, sound, connotation, and commercial impression. Applicant maintained that the marks have significant differences in appearance, but the Board pointed out that the literal portion of a word + design mark is often considered the dominant feature because it is the portion that is most likely to indicate source. "In other words, the literal elements of a mark are likely to make a greater impression upon purchasers than any stylization of the words or accompanying designs, and would be remembered by them and used by them to request the services." See In re Viterra, 101 USPQ2d at 1908 and 1911 (citing CBS Inc. v. Morrow, 708 F.2d 1579, 218 USPQ 198, 200 (Fed. Cir 1983)). Moreover, the knife-and-fork design in applicant's mark is a relatively small element of the mark and is at best suggestive of restaurant services.Applicant's prior registration: Under the thirteenth du Pont factor, the Board may consider "any other establish fact probative of the effect of use." The Board observed that "[w]here an applicant owns a prior registration that is over five years old and the mark is substantially the same as in the applied-for application, this can weigh against finding that there is a likelihood of confusion. See, e.g., In re Strategic Partners Inc., 102 USPQ2d 1397, 1399 (TTAB 2012) (applicant’s prior registration for ANYWEARS in standard characters substantially similar to the applied-for mark ANYWEAR in stylized form for identical goods).Applicant pointed to its prior registration for the mark shown immediately above, which has coexisted with the cited registration on the Trademark Register for more than five years. The Board, however, observed that the applied-for mark "moves closer to the cited registration" than the mark in the prior registration. The Board acknowledged that STEAK, STEAKHOUSE, and RESTAURANT are generic, or at best descriptive terms, "but such terms, in appropriate circumstances may - and here, do - contribute to the overall commercial impression created by a mark." See Juice Generation v. GS Enters., 115 USPQ2d at 1676 (Board paid insufficient heed to the word JUICE in mark for juice bar services).Because of the similarity of the wording 5IVE STEAKHOUSE and 5IVESTEAK, the Board deemed the existence of applicant's prior registration to be a neutral factor in the Section 2(d) analysis. Conclusion: The Board found confusion likely and so it affirmed the refusal.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Note that the Board referred to applicant's prior registration as being "over five years old," without using the misleading and erroneous term "incontestable."Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Test: Which One of These Three Mere Descriptiveness Refusals Was Reversed? Here are three recent appeals from mere descriptiveness refusals under Section 2(e)(1). One of the refusals was reversed. Let's see how you do in the role of TTAB judge. [Answer in first comment].In re Migeca S.p.A., Serial No. 87105947 (May 15, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge George C. Pologeorgis). [Mere descriptiveness refusal of CA’PUCCINO COFFEE HOUSE AND KITCHEN & Design for, inter alia, coffee and café services [COFFEE HOUSE AND KITCHEN disclaimed].In re Buchanan, Serial No. 86847785 (May 15, 2017) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Cheryl B. Goodman). [Mere descriptiveness refusal of KOPI CHAM MOCHA for "coffee based beverages"].In re gebana AG, Serial No. 79189309 (May 25, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Anthony R. Masiello). [Mere descriptiveness refusal of GLOBAL FARMERS’ MARKET for various food items in classes 29, 30, and 31].Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog note: How did you do? See any WYHAs here?Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.Precedential No. 19: TTAB Rules that Evidence From A Website No Longer Active Is Not Probative Ruling that website evidence from a no-longer active website is not probative, the Board found the term CAVIAR to be not misdescriptive of applicant's pet foods and pet treats, and so it reversed Section 2(a) deceptiveness and Section 2(e)(1) deceptive misdescriptiveness refusals of the mark CANINE CAVIAR. The Board did, however, uphold the requirement that applicant disclaim the word CANINE. In re Canine Caviar Pet Foods, Inc., 126 USPQ2d 1590 (TTAB 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Lorelei Ritchie).Deceptiveness under Section 2(a) requires a showing that (1) the mark misdescribes the goods, (2) consumers would likely believe the misdescription, and  (3) the misrepresentation would materially affect the purchasing decision. The examining attorney contended that consumers would understand the word "caviar" to mean that caviar is an ingredient of applicant's goods. There was no dispute that the goods do not contain caviar.Applicant maintained that consumers are likely to think of CANINE CAVIAR not as a reference to "fish roe," but as a laudatory reference to the quality of the product as "the best of its kind," as in "the caviar of pet foods." A declaration from an expert linguist supported that assertion. The Board found that some consumers would understand "caviar" to refer to fish roe, while others would understand "caviar" in the laudatory sense, the latter not being misdescriptive.Turning to the second prong of the test, the examining attorney submitted evidence that pet foods and treats may contain caviar and that pet owners give caviar to their pets. The Board, however, found two problems with that evidence.First, several of the websites reference by the examining attorney are "cached" or stored, and applicant objected that the sites were no longer active. The Board found that to be fatal to the probative value of the evidence:[A]lthough the Examining Attorney’s evidence did properly include a URL and date, due to Applicant’s objections that certain sites are not active, we find that such evidence is not probative.The Board noted that even if the URL resolves to an active link, "there may still be an issue raised as to the probative value of the evidence, including, but not limited to, the probative weight to assign consumer perceptions as of the original publishing date."The second problem with the examining attorney's website evidence was that several webpages referred to foreign use (in the U.K.). Evidence from foreign websites may be probative in some cases (for example, technical fields), but in this case the evidence "does not tell us the norms specific to pet owners in the United States who are relevant consumers."Applicant submitted a declaration from a consultant in the animal feed industry, stating that "[t]he use of caviar as an ingredient in pet food essentially is non-existent." Two of applicant's distributors stated that they were unaware of anyone being deceived or confused into thinking that applicant's product contains caviar. Instead, the mark is understood as being a metaphor for high quality food.The examining attorney asserted that the Board should make its own legal conclusions, but the Board noted that the witnesses were also providing factual testimony: i.e., that they were not aware of any confusion or deception that the products in question contain caviar.Consistent with longstanding practice, we accord these declarations such probative value as they may have, and weigh them with the totality of the evidence.  The Board acknowledged that a few companies offer caviar for pets as a special, luxury item, but the overwhelming evidence is that caviar is almost never used as an ingredient for pet food. During 20 years of use of the CANINE CAVIAR mark, consumers have not mistakenly believed that applicant's products contain caviar.While we expect most pet owners to cherish their pets, we do not expect that they consider it be reasonable to spend over one hundred times the cost of comparable pet food on a single meal for these treasured creatures.The Board concluded that consumers who perceive the word "caviar" in applicant's mark  to mean "fish roe" are not likely to believe that applicant's goods contain caviar. Therefore the mark is not deceptive under Section 2(a), and since the first two prongs under that test were not met, it perforce is not deceptively misdescriptive under Section 2(e)(1).Turning to the requirement that applicant disclaim CANINE, applicant argued that the mark is unitary due to its alliteration and therefore that no disclaimer is required. The Board noted, however, that the combination of the two words provides no additional meaning beyond that proposed by applicant and its linguistics expert: "luxury dog food." Similarly alliterative terms like CANINE CRUNCHER and CANINE CANDY are registered with disclaimers of CANINE. The Board had no doubt that CANINE will be viewed as a separable term that conveys the information that the product is dog food, and thus is merely descriptive thereof.And so the Board affirmed the disclaimer requirement.Electric eels I might add do itThough it shocks em I knowWhy ask if shad do it, waiter bring me"shad roe" (Cole Porter, "Let's Do It.")Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: I think the mark suggests that the pet food contains some caviar, not that it is totally caviar.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.Precedential No. 18: TTAB Extends Safer Rule to Internet Evidence During Ex Parte Prosecution Observing that there are no precedential decisions regarding an examining attorney's failure to properly submit Internet evidence, the Board ruled that both applicants and examining attorneys must include the URL and the date the webpage was accessed. If an applicant does not object to the examining attorney's failure to do so, "the Board will consider the website for whatever probative value it may have." If the applicant fails to do so without objection from the examining attorney, the Board may consider the objection waived. In re Mueller Sports Medicine, Inc., 126 USPQ2d 1584 (TTAB 2018) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Marc A. Bergsman).Until Safer Inc. v. OMS Invs. Inc., there was no requirement that a party include a webpage address when introducing a webpage into evidence in an inter partes proceedings. [Now codified in Trademark Rule 2.122(e)]. The TMEP adopted the Safer requirements for examining attorneys in ex parte proceedings. TMEP §710.01(b) (October 2017). But the TMEP is not the law.In determining whether to make those requirements the law, the Board first considered an analogous situation for guidance (namely, lists of third-party registrations):If the applicant, during the prosecution of the application, provided a listing of third-party registrations, without also submitting actual copies of the registrations, and the examining attorney did not object or otherwise advise the applicant that a listing is insufficient to make such registrations of record at a point when the applicant could cure the insufficiency, the examining attorney will be deemed to have waived any objection to the admissibility of the list. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Manual of Procedure (“TBMP”) § 1207.03 (June 2017); see also TBMP § 1208.02.Following that example, the Board ruled that "if an examining attorney fails to include the website URL and the date that the webpage was accessed but the applicant fails to lodge an objection on that ground, then the Board will consider the website for whatever probative value it may have."Furthermore, the Board extended those requirements not only to examining attorneys, but to applicants in ex parte proceedings as well.Similar to the submission of third-party registrations, Examining Attorneys have a responsibility to make sure that applicants properly submit Internet evidence. If the applicant’s response includes Internet evidence without a URL or date it was printed, the examining attorney must object to the evidence in the first Office action following the response and advise the applicant as to the proper way to make the Internet evidence of record. Otherwise the Board may consider the objection to be waived.If the applicant files an appeal, the examining attorney should continue the objection to the evidence in his or her appeal brief.Turning to the substantive issue in the case, the Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) mere descriptiveness refusal of the mark RECOIL for medical and athletic cohesive tape. Dictionary definitions, third-party website pages, and applicant's own packaging confirmed that "recoil" is used to describe the ability of applicant's tape to return to its original form.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Note the use of "will" and "may." If the applicant fails to object, the Board will consider the evidence. If the examining attorney fails to object, the Board may consider the objection waived. Does this difference make sense?Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.TTAB Shuts Down NJ Turnpike Authority's 2(d) Opposition to JERSEY BOARDWALK PIZZA logo The Board dismissed an opposition to registration of the mark shown below right for "restaurant services," finding that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority failed to prove likelihood of confusion with its registered mark shown below left, for highway maintenance services and information services, and its common law mark shown below center for those same services and for "service areas along the Garden State Parkway that include restaurants, many of which feature pizza." New Jersey Turnpike Authority v. Jersey Boardwalk Franchising Co., Opposition No. 91219067and Cancellation No. 92059657 (May 15, 2008) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Cynthia C. Lynch).Priority: Plaintiff NJTA established priority as to its highway maintenance and information services, but it failed to prove any rights in its marks for restaurant services. NJTA merely acts as a landlord for various restaurant facilities - such as Burger King and Pizza Hut - located at its service areas. In fact, its marks are not even displayed at or near the service areas.The only item of evidence showing NJTA's use of its logo comprised a discount coupon for an Extra Value Meal that was apparently distributed in 1996, but there was no evidence as to how many were distributed. This sole piece of evidence was insufficient to establish common law rights as to restaurant services.Strength of the Mark: NJTA contended that its mark is famous. The Board found the mark to enjoy "some degree of renown" in view of length of use, revenue figures, media coverage, and third party infringements and successful enforcement efforts. The Board concluded that the marks is "reasonably strong for highway management and maintenance and travel information services."The Marks: Because of the strong visual resemblance between the marks, the Board found the commercial impressions of the marks to be "fairly similar," and the marks as in their entireties to be "similar."The Services: There was no evidence that consumers would expect restaurant services and highway maintenance services to emanate from the same source. Trade Channels: The same travelers who encounter NJTA's road maintenance and management services, or travel information services, also stop and eat at restaurants. And so there is at least a partial overlap in channels of trade and classes of consumers.Bad Faith: Pointing to the 13th du Pont factor, plaintiff claimed that defendant chose the applied-for mark in bad faith. The Board, however, found no bad faith in defendant's creation of a New Jersey-themed motif for its restaurants, or from submission of an application to register after receiving a cease-and-desist letter, because (as defendant responded), there is no likelihood of confusion.Conclusion: The Board concluded that source confusion is unlikely, and it dismissed NJTA's Section 2(d) claim. Counterclaims: Defendant's two counterclaims, based primarily on its interpretation of New Jersey state law, were meritless. Its challenge to NJTA's ownership of the registration was barred by Section 14 of the Trademark Act, since registrations that are more than five years old may be challenged only on certain enumerated grounds, and ownership is not one of them. [Thankfully, the Board did not refer to the registration as "incontestable" - ed.]. Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: In a cancellation proceeding consolidated with the opposition, defendant conceded that it discontinued use of an earlier version of its pizza logo mark with intent not to resume use, and so the Board granted NJTA's petition for cancellation on the ground of abandonment.BTW: What is stopping defendant from opening a pizza restaurant just off a NJ Turnpike exit? Would consumers think it was affiliated with or sponsored by the Turnpike Authority? I suspect so.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.Finding Beer and Wine Related, TTAB Affirms Section 2(d) Refusals of DEAD BIRD BREWING COMPANY and Dead Bird Design for Beer The Board affirmed Section 2(d) refusals to register the mark DEAD BIRD BREWING COMPANY (standard characters) [BREWING COMPANY disclaimed] and the design mark shown below, for beer, in view of the registered mark DEADBIRD for wines. Applicant submitted evidence of several dozen registrations and uses of mark for beer owned by one entity and for wine by a different entity, but the Board was unmoved. In re Dead Bird Brewing, LLC, Serial Nos. 87140389 and 87140417 (June 13, 2018) ]not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Thomas W. Wellington).The Marks: Not surprisingly, the Board found the words DEAD BIRD to be the dominant portion of applicant's mark DEAD BIRD BREWING COMPANY, since BREWING COMPANY is disclaimed and since DEAD BIRD is located as the first part of the mark. The word marks at issue both connote a "dead bird," and the term has no significance in connection with beer or wine. In sum, the marks are "extremely similar." Consumers may believe that the added term BREWING COMPANY "is simply being used in connection with a variant mark to designate Registrant's attempt at brewing beer, a concept that would be plausible in the minds of the relevant consumers."As to applicant's design mark, it is the pictorial equivalent of the words "dead bird." Under the doctrine of legal equivalents, a pictorial depiction and equivalent wording are likely to make the same mental impression on purchasers. Applicant described the mark as an "upside down dead bird." Consumers are likely to use the words "the dead bird design (or mark or logo)" when describing applicant's mark, and are likely to ask for "dead bird beer" when ordering the product. The Board therefore found the similarity between this mark and the cited mark to be "very strong." The Goods: In demonstrating the relatedness of beer and wine, Examining Attorney Amy E. Thomas relied on 24 use-based registrations covering both, on websites showing beer and wine featured in festivals, on websites showing beer and wind made and offered by a single entity under the same mark, and on websites advertising retail establishments that feature beer and wine.Applicant acknowledged that the Board has often found beer and wine to be related for purposes of its likelihood of confusion analysis. However, applicant argued that the record here demonstrates that the goods are not related. It relied primarily on the contention that the same, or very similar, mark is used or registered by one entity for beer and by a different entity for wine (including some 60 pairs of registered marks and approximately 30 websites). Applicant asserted that its evidence showed that the USPTO has treated inconsistently the beer-versus-wine issue, that consumers are accustomed to seeing the same mark used to indicate different sources of beer and wine, and that beer and wine makers do not view their products as creating potential trademark conflicts.The Board found that applicant's pairs of existing registration have some probative value in that they "may reflect the views of coexisting registration owners." As to the USPTO's inconsistency, the Board again acknowledged that consistency is desirable, but nonetheless "prior decision and actions of other examining attorneys in registering other marks or approving marks for registration have little evidentiary value and are not binding on the Board." The Board's own case law suggests that the relatedness of beer and wine typically has resulted in a finding of likely confusion.The Examining Attorney's evidence showed that there are a significant number of examples of third-party use of a single mark by the same entity for beer and wine, including several businesses that call themselves "winery and brewery." Third-party registration evidence helps corroborate that beer and wine are the type of goods that may emanate from a common source under the same mark. The evidence also showed that beer and wine may be sold together to the same consumers, including at stores, restaurants, and festivals. We have considered the entire record and, to be clear, our determination regarding the relatedness of the involved goods is not based upon who has submitted the most third-party registrations or examples of use to support their arguments. Rather, our determination is based on finding that the respective goods are "related in some manner and/or the circumstances surrounding their marketing [be] such that they could give rise to the mistaken belief that [the respective goods] emanate from the same source."Consumers may be aware of coexisting marks, but that does not mean that they may not also be aware of the same mark being used in connection with beer and wine by the same entity. Conclusion: The Board affirmed the Section 2(d) refusal.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Compare the PIRATE PISS case of a few days ago [TTABlogged here], where an opposer failed to prove the relatedness of beer and wine.Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.HONEYHOLE SANDWICHES for Restaurant Services Confusable with HONEY HOLE for Alcoholic Beverages, Says TTAB The Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal to register HONEYHOLE SANDWICHES for "restaurant with bar specializing in serving proprietary unique sandwiches, local beers and alcohol in a vibrant, eclectic environment" [SANDWICHES disclaimed], finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the registered mark HONEY HOLE for "alcoholic beverages except beers." The Board found the "something more" required to prove relatedness between restaurant services and a food item, in the strength of the cited mark, the fact that applicant serves alcohol ("HONEYHOLE COCKTAILS"), and third-party use evidence. In re Honeyhole Sandwiches Inc., Serial No. 87138294 (May 22, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Frances Wolfson). Evidentiary Issues: The Board first dealt with various evidentiary issues, including objections to applicant's submission of lists of third-party registrations rather than copies of the corresponding PTO records, and its submission of website evidence without inclusion of the date and URL. See In re Mueller Sports Medicine, Inc. [TTABlogged here].Applicant submitted a "ThorCheck" report purporting to show 100 pairs of marks registered to different owners, for restaurant services and alcoholic beverages, but the Board was not much impressed since the report comprised merely a list of registrations. Moreover, the dates of registration were missing, as was the current status of each registration. in 38 of the pairs one or both marks contain design elements, and in 4 pairs the owner of the two marks were the same. The Marks: Not surprisingly, the Board found the terms HONEYHOLE to be the dominant portion of applicant's mark. HONEYHOLE is "slang for a location that yields a valued commodity or resource." Applicant urged that because registrant's alcoholic beverages are honey-flavored, the cited mark is weak. The Board found that, while this fact may undercut the conceptual strength of the cited mark, there was no evidence of third-party use of similar marks that would lessen the mark's commercial strength.Even consumers who are unfamiliar with the slang expression and who recognize that some of registrants goods may contain honey (there is no such limitation in the registration), are likely to conclude that "the marks emanate from the same source of origin." In sum, the marks are similar in sight, sound, connotation and commercial impression.The Goods and Services: "[T]he mere fact that a restaurant may offer certain food items or beverages does not by itself mean that the food or drink is related to the restaurant services; rather, in order '[t]o establish likelihood of confusion a party must show something more than that similar or even identical marks are used for food products and for restaurant services.' Jacobs v. Int'l Multifoods Corp., 212 USPQ 641, 642 (CCPA 1982). [Emphasis by the Board].The Board has found the requisite "something more" when the registrant's mark was a "very unique, strong mark" and there was a commercial relationship between the goods and restaurants: e.g., in Mucky Duck (mustard) and Opus One (registrant's wines were actually sold in applicant's restaurants).Here, the Board found the cited mark to be strong, and it further noted that applicant's recitation of services includes "serving ... alcohol." Applicant's specimen of use showed that applicant uses the term HONEYHOLE to identify cocktails sold at its establishment.Examining Attorney Kim Teresa Moninghoff submitted 45 use-based third-party registrations for marks covering both restaurant services and alcoholic drinks. In addition, she submitted evidence showing that restaurants offer private-label alcoholic beverages under the same mark as used for their restaurant services. And finally, she provided evidence of online advertising by companies offering to create private label beverage lines for restaurants.The Board therefore found that the "something more" showing was made and that applicant's restaurant services are sufficiently related to respondent's goods.Conclusion: Finding confusion likely, the Board affirmed the refusal to register.Read comments and post your comment here.TTABlog comment: Suppose applicant had filed for "sandwich restaurant services?" Would that have made a difference? How do you think a court would rule if registrant brought an infringement claim? Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.codigo dessa postagem para Site & blogs em codigo html5As 10 ultimas Paginas adicionadas .L {position: absolute;left:0;} .C {position: absolute;} .R {position: absolute;right:0;} .uri{font-size:0;position: fixed;} As 10 ultimas Paginas adicionadas