Thursday, November 18, 2010

Anthony's Pizza: even a weak mark bars later comers

Back on January 14, 2005, APHC applied to register the

At issue here was an appeal of a TTAB decision: The Board issued its opinion on November 10, 2009,
holding that APPI’s mark has priority over both of
APHC’s marks. Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta Int’l, Inc. v.
Anthony’s Pizza Holding Co., 95 U.S.P.Q.2d 1271, 1276
(T.T.A.B. 2009). The Board also determined that APHC’s
marks are likely to cause confusion with APPI’s mark. Id.
at 1283. Accordingly, the Board sustained APPI’s opposi-
tion to APHC’s application and granted APPI’s petition to
cancel APHC’s mark. Id. APHC appeals from these

CAFC conclusion:

Finally, the Board did not grant APPI exclusive rights
to the term “Anthony’s.” Nor did it grant APPI exclusive
right to the terms “Anthony’s” and “Pizza.” The Board
merely found that APPI’s relatively weak mark bars the
registration of marks “as to which the resemblance to
[APPI’s mark] is striking enough to cause one seeing it to
assume that there is some connection, association, or
sponsorship between the two.” 95 U.S.P.Q.2d at 1278
(citation omitted). That is precisely consistent with the
intent of the Lanham Act, which prevents registration of
marks likely to cause confusion.


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