Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Halo Leather, appealing from TTAB to CAFC, loses

As to basically identical trademarks used to mark related products, the decision in
In re Halo Leather, Limited is instructive:

In this trademark case, Halo Leather Limited seeks to
register the mark “AQUAPEL” and an associated design
for leather or imitation leather home goods, including
beds, curtain rails, curtain hooks, curtain rings, mattresses,
and tables. The examining attorney in the Patent and
Trademark Office rejected Halo’s application on the
ground that the mark is likely to be confused with a
registered mark “AQUAPEL” for home goods including
bed blankets, comforters, curtain fabric, curtains of textile,
mattress covers and pads, table linen, textile fabrics,
and textile place mats. The Trademark Trial and Appeal
Board upheld the examining attorney’s rejection based on
its findings that the two marks are similar in terms of
their appearance, sound, connotation, and commercial
impression, and that consumers would likely identify
goods covered under the marks to emanate from a single
source. We affirm.
In finding of likelihood of
confusion, there is no requirement that the goods be
identical so long as one of the goods in the application is
sufficiently related to one of the goods in the registration
such that consumers would be likely to think they were
offered by the same source. See, e.g., Hewlett-Packard
Co., 281 F.3d at 1267 (“Even if the goods and services in
question are not identical, the consuming public may
perceive them as related enough to cause confusion about
the source or origin.”). Here, the likelihood of confusion is
caused by the high degree of relatedness of the parties’
goods, not by their being identical.

This is not a case like In re Coors Brewing Co., 343
F.3d 1340, 1346–47 (Fed. Cir. 2003), in which the court
found that the Board’s evidence was insufficient to support
the finding that two marks sharing the term “BLUE
MOON” are related. In Coors, one mark was for restaurant
services, and the other mark was for beer. Id.
Although the court found that the two marks were similar,
their applications were different: one was for services
and the other for goods. See id. (holding that it is not true
that “any time a brand of [food or beverage] has a trademark
that is similar to the registered trademark of some
restaurant, consumers are likely to assume that the [food
or beverage] is associated with that restaurant”). Unlike
Coors, both Halo’s application and Nanotex’s mark concern
similar goods, and substantial evidence supports the
Board’s finding that a consumer would likely view the
goods under Halo’s mark and Nanotex’s mark emanating
from a single source.


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