Section 2(d) Office Action Examples

Offc Action Outgoing [redacted] For Using Exactly the Same Wording

Registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the mark in U.S. Registration No.  XXXXXXX.  Trademark Act Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); see TMEP §§1207.01 et seq.  See the enclosed registration.

 

Taking into account the relevant du Pont factors, a likelihood of confusion determination in this case involves a two-part analysis.  The marks are compared for similarities in their appearance, sound, connotation and commercial impression.  TMEP §§1207.01, 1207.01(b).  The goods and/or services are compared to determine whether they are similar or commercially related or travel in the same trade channels.  See Herbko Int’l, Inc. v. Kappa Books, Inc., 308 F.3d 1156, 1164-65, 64 USPQ2d 1375, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2002); Han Beauty, Inc. v. Alberto-Culver Co., 236 F.3d 1333, 1336, 57 USPQ2d 1557, 1559 (Fed. Cir. 2001); TMEP §§1207.01, 1207.01(a)(vi).

 

In a likelihood of confusion determination, the marks are compared for similarities in their appearance, sound, meaning or connotation and commercial impression.  In re E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 476 F.2d 1357, 1361, 177 USPQ 563, 567 (C.C.P.A. 1973); TMEP §1207.01(b).  Similarity in any one of these elements may be sufficient to find a likelihood of confusion.  In re White Swan Ltd., 8 USPQ2d 1534, 1535 (TTAB 1988); In re Lamson Oil Co., 6 USPQ2d 1041, 1043 (TTAB 1987); see TMEP §1207.01(b).

 

Applicant’s mark, “MARK1” with design, is similar to registrant’s mark, “MARK1” with design. The marks contain the exact same wording.  The only difference between the marks is with the design elements.  When a mark consists of a word portion and a design portion, the word portion is more likely to be impressed upon a purchaser’s memory and to be used in calling for the goods and/or services.  Therefore, the word portion is normally accorded greater weight in determining likelihood of confusion.  In re Dakin’s Miniatures, Inc., 59 USPQ2d 1593, 1596 (TTAB 1999); In re Appetito Provisions Co., 3 USPQ2d 1553, 1554 (TTAB 1987); Amoco Oil Co. v. Amerco, Inc., 192 USPQ 729, 735 (TTAB 1976); TMEP §1207.01(c)(ii).  The difference in designs could be viewed as the registrant’s way of adding stylization to its marks.  Consumers would focus on and use the wording “MARK1” when calling for the services.  Consumers would believe applicant’s mark was connected to the registrant because the literal portion of the marks is identical.  

 

The goods and/or services of the parties need not be identical or directly competitive to find a likelihood of confusion.  See Safety-Kleen Corp. v. Dresser Indus., Inc., 518 F.2d 1399, 1404, 186 USPQ 476, 480 (C.C.P.A. 1975); TMEP §1207.01(a)(i).  Rather, they need only be related in some manner, or the conditions surrounding their marketing are such that they would be encountered by the same purchasers under circumstances that would give rise to the mistaken belief that the goods and/or services come from a common source.  In re Total Quality Group, Inc., 51 USPQ2d 1474, 1476 (TTAB 1999); TMEP §1207.01(a)(i); see, e.g., On-line Careline Inc. v. Am. Online Inc., 229 F.3d 1080, 1086-87, 56 USPQ2d 1471, 1475-76 (Fed. Cir. 2000); In re Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc., 748 F.2d 1565, 1566-68, 223 USPQ 1289, 1290 (Fed. Cir. 1984).

 

Applicant’s services are “Sales of cellular phones, cellular phone accessories, and cellular phone equipment.”  Registrant’s services include “retail store services in the field of cellular phones and accessories.”   Both applicant and registrant are providing retail store services that allow consumers to purchase cellular phones and cellular phone accessories.

 

If the goods and/or services of the respective parties are “similar in kind and/or closely related,” the degree of similarity between the marks required to support a finding of likelihood of confusion is not as great as would be required with diverse goods and/or services.  In re J.M. Originals Inc., 6 USPQ2d 1393, 1394 (TTAB 1987); see Shen Mfg. Co. v. Ritz Hotel Ltd., 393 F.3d 1238, 1242, 73 USPQ2d 1350, 1354 (Fed. Cir. 2004); TMEP §1207.01(b).


For the reasons set forth above, registration is refused based on the Trademark Act Section 2(d).

Offc Action Outgoing [redacted] For Using Telescoped Mark With Part of Exact Mark


Registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the marks in U.S. Registration Nos. 1784293; 3041802; 2590825 and 2211382.  Trademark Act Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); see TMEP §§1207.01 et seq.  See the enclosed registrations.

 The applicant has applied to register “WORD1MIX and design” for [portion deleted]           

The registered [conflicting] marks are “WORD1 and design” for [portion deleted] ; “WORD1” for [portion deleted]; “WORD1” for [portion deleted]; and “WORD1SNACK” for “food snacks, namely, snack bars consisting primarily of nuts and fruits and sometimes also chocolate” in International Class 29.

Trademark Act Section 2(d) bars registration of an applied-for mark that so resembles a registered mark that it is likely that a potential consumer would be confused or mistaken or deceived as to the source of the goods and/or services of the applicant and registrant.  See 15 U.S.C. §1052(d).  [portion deleted] 


COMPARISON OF MARKS

In a likelihood of confusion determination, the marks are compared for similarities in their appearance, sound, meaning or connotation and commercial impression.  In re E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 476 F.2d 1357, 1361, 177 USPQ 563, 567 (C.C.P.A. 1973); TMEP §1207.01(b).  Similarity in any one of these elements may be sufficient to find a likelihood of confusion.  In re White Swan Ltd., 8 USPQ2d 1534, 1535 (TTAB 1988); In re Lamson Oil Co., 6 USPQ2d 1041, 1043 (TTAB 1987); see TMEP §1207.01(b).

 

With respect to the “WORD1” and “WORD1SNACK” marks, consumers are generally more inclined to focus on the first word, prefix or syllable in any trademark or service mark.  See Palm Bay Imps., Inc. v. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Maison Fondee En 1772, 396 F. 3d 1369, 1372, 73 USPQ2d 1689, 1692 (Fed. Cir. 2005); see also Mattel Inc. v. Funline Merch. Co., 81 USPQ2d 1372, 1374-75 (TTAB 2006); Presto Prods., Inc. v. Nice-Pak Prods., Inc., 9 USPQ2d 1895, 1897 (TTAB 1988) (“it is often the first part of a mark which is most likely to be impressed upon the mind of a purchaser and remembered” when making purchasing decisions).  Therefore, consumers will focus on the term “WORD1” which is similar in spelling and appearance to the first part of the applicant’s telescoped mark “WORD1MIX.”  In addition, the “WORD1SNACK” and “WORD1MIX” share a similar connotation since mixes are often used to describe dried fruit snacks.  [portion deleted]

 

With respect to the “WORD1 and design” mark, when a mark consists of a word portion and a design portion, the word portion is more likely to be impressed upon a purchaser’s memory and to be used in calling for the goods and/or services.  Therefore, the word portion is normally accorded greater weight in determining likelihood of confusion.  In re Dakin’s Miniatures, Inc., 59 USPQ2d 1593, 1596 (TTAB 1999); In re Appetito Provisions Co., 3 USPQ2d 1553, 1554 (TTAB 1987); Amoco Oil Co. v. Amerco, Inc., 192 USPQ 729, 735 (TTAB 1976); TMEP §1207.01(c)(ii).  Accordingly, the dominant elements in the marks are the word elements “WORD1” and “WORD1MIX”.  Registrant’s dominant word element is similar in spelling and appearance to the first part of the applicant’s dominant word element.  

 

The question is not whether people will confuse the marks, but whether the marks will confuse people into believing that the goods and/or services they identify come from the same source.  In re West Point-Pepperell, Inc., 468 F.2d 200, 201, 175 USPQ 558, 558-59 (C.C.P.A. 1972); TMEP §1207.01(b).  For that reason, the test of likelihood of confusion is not whether the marks can be distinguished when subjected to a side-by-side comparison.  The question is whether the marks create the same overall impression.  See Recot, Inc. v. M.C. Becton, 214 F.2d 1322, 1329-30, 54 USPQ2d 1894, 1899 (Fed. Cir. 2000); Visual Info. Inst., Inc. v. Vicon Indus. Inc., 209 USPQ 179, 189 (TTAB 1980).  The focus is on the recollection of the average purchaser who normally retains a general rather than specific impression of trademarks.  Chemetron Corp. v. Morris Coupling & Clamp Co., 203 USPQ 537, 540-41 (TTAB 1979); Sealed Air Corp. v. Scott Paper Co., 190 USPQ 106, 108 (TTAB 1975); TMEP §1207.01(b).  Here, because the marks are share a term with similar spelling and appearance, they create similar overall commercial impressions.  [portion deleted]

 

Since the marks are similar and the goods and services are related, there is a likelihood of confusion as to the source of applicant’s goods.  Therefore, registration is refused under Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act.


Offc Action Outgoing [redacted] [for using similar phrases on clothing]

Section 2(d) - Likelihood of Confusion Refusal

Registration of the proposed mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the mark in U.S. Registration No. xxxxxxx.  Trademark Act Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); TMEP §§1207.01 et seq.  See the enclosed registration.

Taking into account the relevant Du Pont factors, a likelihood of confusion determination in this case involves a two-part analysis.  First, the marks are compared for similarities in appearance, sound, connotation and commercial impression.  In re E .I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 476 F.2d 1357, 177 USPQ 563 (C.C.P.A. 1973).  Second, the goods or services are compared to determine whether they are similar or related or whether the activities surrounding their marketing are such that confusion as to origin is likely.  In re National Novice Hockey League, Inc., 222 USPQ 638 (TTAB 1984); In re August Storck KG, 218 USPQ 823 (TTAB 1983); In re Int’l Tel. and Tel. Corp., 197 USPQ 910 (TTAB 1978); Guardian Prods. Co., v. Scott Paper Co., 200 USPQ 738 (TTAB 1978); TMEP §§1207.01 et seq.

I. Similarities of the Marks

The marks are compared for similarities in sound, appearance, meaning or connotation.  In re E .I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 476 F.2d 1357, 177 USPQ 563 (C.C.P.A. 1973).  Similarity in any one of these elements may be sufficient to find a likelihood of confusion.  In re White Swan Ltd., 8 USPQ2d 1534, 1536 (TTAB 1988); In re Lamson Oil Co., 6 USPQ2d 1041, 1043 (TTAB 1987); In re Mack, 197 USPQ 755 (TTAB 1977); TMEP §1207.01(b).

Applicant’s mark is WORD1 GIRL and design.  The registrant’s mark is WORD2 GIRL and design.  Marks may be confusingly similar in appearance where there are similar terms or phrases or similar parts of terms or phrases appearing in both applicant’s and registrant’s mark.  See e.g., Crocker Nat’l Bank v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, 228 USPQ 689 (TTAB 1986), aff’d 1 USPQ2d 1813 (Fed. Cir. 1987) (COMMCASH and COMMUNICASH); In re Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., 228 USPQ 949 (TTAB 1986) (21 CLUB and “21” CLUB (stylized)); In re Corning Glass Works, 229 USPQ 65 (TTAB 1985) (CONFIRM and CONFIRMCELLS); In re Collegian Sportswear Inc., 224 USPQ 174 (TTAB 1984) (COLLEGIAN OF CALIFORNIA and COLLEGIENNE); In re Pellerin Milnor Corp., 221 USPQ 558 (TTAB 1983) (MILTRON and MILLTRONICS); In re BASF A.G., 189 USPQ 424 (TTAB 1975) (LUTEXAL and LUTEX); TMEP §§1207.01(b)(ii) and (b)(iii).

Here, the design elements are nearly identical.  The marks create the same overall commercial impression.


II. Comparison of the Goods

The goods of the parties need not be identical or directly competitive to find a likelihood of confusion.  Instead, they need only be related in some manner, or the conditions surrounding their marketing be such that they could be encountered by the same purchasers under circumstances that could give rise to the mistaken belief that the goods come from a common source.  On-line Careline Inc. v. America Online Inc., 229 F.3d 1080, 56 USPQ2d 1471 (Fed. Cir. 2000); In re Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc., 748 F.2d 1565, 223 USPQ 1289 (Fed. Cir. 1984); In re Melville Corp., 18 USPQ2d 1386, 1388 (TTAB 1991); In re Corning Glass Works, 229 USPQ 65 (TTAB 1985); In re Rexel Inc., 223 USPQ 830 (TTAB 1984); Guardian Prods. Co., Inc. v. Scott Paper Co., 200 USPQ 738 (TTAB 1978); In re Int’l Tel. & Tel. Corp., 197 USPQ 910 (TTAB 1978); TMEP §1207.01(a)(i).

Applicant’s goods are “children's headwear; cloth bibs; fleece pullovers; fleece shorts; headwear; infant and toddler one piece clothing; jerseys ; pants; short-sleeved or long-sleeved t-shirts; t-shirts; tank tops; tank-tops; tops.”  Registrant’s goods are “t-shirts.”  The goods are identical and highly related.

The decisions in the clothing field have held many different types of apparel to be related under Section 2(d).  Cambridge Rubber Co. v. Cluett, Peabody & Co., Inc., 286 F.2d 623, 128 USPQ 549 (C.C.P.A. 1961) (“WINTER CARNIVAL” for women’s boots v. men’s and boys’ underwear); Jockey Int’l, Inc. v. Mallory & Church Corp., 25 USPQ2d 1233 (TTAB 1992) (“ELANCE” for underwear v. “ELAAN” for neckties); In re Melville Corp. 18 USPQ2d 1386 (TTAB 1991) (“ESSENTIALS” for women’s pants, blouses, shorts and jackets v. women’s shoes); In re Pix of America, Inc., 225 USPQ 691 (TTAB 1985) (“NEWPORTS” for women’s shoes v. “NEWPORT” for outer shirts); In re Mercedes Slacks, Ltd., 213 USPQ 397 (TTAB 1982) (“OMEGA” for hosiery v. trousers); In re Cook United, Inc., 185 USPQ 444 (TTAB 1975) (“GRANADA” for men’s suits, coats, and trousers v. ladies’ pantyhose and hosiery); Esquire Sportswear Mfg. Co. v. Genesco Inc., 141 USPQ 400 (TTAB 1964) (“SLEEX” for brassieres and girdles v. slacks for men and young men).

Any doubt regarding a likelihood of confusion is resolved in favor of the prior registrant.  Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Packard Press Inc., 281 F.3d 1261, 62 USPQ2d 1001, 1004 (Fed. Cir. 2002); In re Hyper Shoppes (Ohio), Inc., 837 F.2d 463, 6 USPQ2d 1025 (Fed. Cir. 1988); TMEP §§1207.01(d)(i).

Accordingly, the examining attorney refuses registration.


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