Category Archives Trademark Trial and Appeal Board

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has denied Hy-Vee Inc.'s application to register the “Peaceful Piranha” mark for a line of snack foods, deeming the mark to be too similar to the mark for an existing line of “Piraña” snack foods. In re Hy-Vee, Inc., No., 87120774 (T.T.A.B., entered February 6, 2018). Finding “piranha” to be the dominant portion of the mark, the board found the term likely to confuse consumers unfamiliar with Spanish because they may read the pronunciation of the terms as identical. Further, consumers who understand Spanish may be confused because they would understand the cognate terms as a reference to the fish. Although Hy-Vee argued that “peaceful” and “piranha” are counterintuitive, creating an entirely different connotation with no association to “vicious” piranha fish, the board found the term “peaceful” was not likely to distinguish the marks because “it would merely indicate an atypical piranha, possibly for use…

American Beverage Corp., which sells alcohol cocktails under the “Darty” mark, has filed a notice of opposition to Boston Beer Co.’s application for a “Day Party” mark for beer. Am. Bev. Corp. v. Boston Beer Corp., No. 91239170 (T.T.A.B., notice filed January 29, 2018). The notice asserts that the "colloquial meaning of DARTY is 'Day Party.'" American Beverage claims priority in filing and first use date, and the notice alleges that the goods are so similar as to cause consumer confusion about their source.

Iceland has filed a notice of opposition to a trademark application filed by an Ecuadorean company for use of the mark “I ' CELAND” for vodka, arguing that consumers will be confused as to the origin of the product, which features a label with images of snow-capped mountains and the term “Iceland Vodka.” Republic of Iceland, Ministry for Foreign Affairs v. Cosmica Cia. Ltda., No. 91239021 (T.T.A.B., notice filed January 17, 2018). Iceland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs coordinates the exports of Icelandic businesses and alleges it is responsible for protecting the “Iceland” mark, which has been used for various Icelandic alcohol products, including vodka. Iceland registered its mark with the U.S. Patent and Trade Office in 2009.

A winery has filed a notice of opposition against BuzzFeed Inc.'s trademark application for Wordy Wine, a wine brand allowing purchases to customize the label. Kalaris v. BuzzFeed Inc., No. 91238653 (T.T.A.B., filed December 29, 2017). Although the words “Wordy Wine” do not appear on the purchaser’s custom label, Axios Napa Valley Wines alleges the term is nearly identical to the mark for its line of “Worthy” wines.

Sazerac Brands has filed a notice of opposition to ROSC Global's application to trademark “St. Paddy’s Brigade” for agave liquor, arguing that consumers are likely to confuse the mark with Sazerac’s “Paddy” line of Irish whiskies. Sazerac Brands LLC v. ROSC Global, LLC, No. 91237863 (T.T.A.B., filed November 16, 2017). ROSC Global applied for the mark in May 2017, while Sazerac asserts the company and its predecessors-in-interest have used the “Paddy” marks for alcoholic beverages since 1927.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has affirmed a refusal to register microbrewery 8-Bit Aleworks' application for a trademark despite an agreement between the company and 8bit Brewing Company specifying that 8bit did not object to the use. In re 8-Brewing LLC, No. 86760527 (T.T.A.B., entered October 30, 2017). The court found the consent agreement to be ambiguous and confusing as to which marks were covered by the agreement and vague as to how trade dress and packaging would distinguish the products. Further, the agreement failed to demonstrate how the companies' trade channels were different. Accordingly, the court held that “the shortcomings in the consent agreement are such that consumer confusion remains likely” and affirmed the refusal to register the mark.

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Enterprises, which owns trademarks on the phrase “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere" and several variations, has challenged The Veteran Beverage Company's application to register "It’s 1700 Hours Somewhere.” Margaritaville Enters. v. Veteran Beverage Co., No. 91236809 (T.T.A.B., filed September 22, 2017). The notice alleges that the trademark application is for beer, which is closely related to Margaritaville’s beverage and bar services marks, and that the only difference is that it shows 5:00 p.m. in military time.

For a second time, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has granted Frito-Lay North America’s petition for cancellation of Snyder's-Lance Inc.’s application to trademark “Pretzel Crisps,” finding the term is generic. Frito-Lay N. Am.v. Princeton-Vanguard, LLC, No. 91195552 (TTAB, entered September 6, 2017). TTAB initially found "pretzel crisp" to be generic following Frito-Lay's opposition to the application, but the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the decision, holding that TTAB had used an incorrect legal standard for its opinion. On remand, TTAB first considered the genericness of the individual terms then analyzed the whole term, again finding that “the primary significance of the term in the minds of the consuming public is to identify a product rather than to identify a single producer of that product, and that indeed the 'Pretzel Crisps' product may derive from more than one source.” In addition, TTAB ruled that…

Red Bull GmbH has filed a notice of opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) alleging that a mark used by Bull By The Horns Fitness is too similar to its own name, mark and logo. Red Bull GmbH v. Bull By The Horns Fitness, No. 91236158 (TTAB, filed August 16, 2017). The fitness club applied for a mark that shows a man holding a sideways-facing charging bull, while Red Bull’s marks also show a sideways-facing charging bull. Red Bull argues that its mark has been extensively used in sports and fitness promotion and training services and opposes the application for likelihood of confusion, dilution and false suggestion of a connection.   Issue 645

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has affirmed a refusal to grant Empire Technology Development a trademark for “coffee flour,” finding “clear evidence of generic use” of the term. In re Empire Tech. Dev. LLC, Serial No. 85876688 (TTAB, entered August 3, 2017). The company, which created the flour from ground coffee cherry skins, pulp and pectin, claimed first use of the mark in 2012. TTAB found that Empire “failed to develop and promulgate a generic term other than ‘coffee flour’ and to educate the public to use some other name” and used coffee flour as a generic term in its advertising materials and in media coverage. To allow trademark protection for a generic term, even when identified with a first user, would grant the owner a monopoly because a competitor could not describe the product as what it is, the board said. Moreover, the board said Empire’s failure…

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