Likelihood of Confusion

Collen - We represent corporate clients in U.S. trademark opposition and trademark cancellation proceedings that are based on a likelihood of confusion with a preexisting trademark.

Likelihood of confusion is one of the highest-cited reasons that a trademark application is refused registration.  The statutory basis may be found in Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act.  In order to prevail in a trademark opposition or trademark cancellation based on likelihood of confusion, the moving party must establish the following:

  1.   Standing.  Proof that the plaintiff has a legitimate stake in the proceeding and will be damaged if the defendant's application or registration is maintained.
  2.   Priority.  To establish priority of use, a party must show that its owns a preexisting trademark registration or common law use that has not been abandoned.  A plaintiff may prove prior use through either actual use or use analogous to trademark use, such as advertising brochures, newspaper publications, or websites which create a public awareness of the designation of the trademark as an identifying source.

Likelihood of Confusion Factors.   In addition to establishing standing and priority, the plaintiff must establish that the likelihood of confusion factors analyzed by the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board weigh in its favor.  These factors include a comparison of the parties' marks in relation to the:

  • Similarity of the marks
  • Similarity of the goods or services
  • Similarity of the trade channels
  • Evidence of actual confusion, if any
  • Fame of the prior mark
  • Number of similar marks in use on similar goods
  • Conditions under which purchases are made

and other relevant factors that are relied on by the Board.

Proceeding with a trademark opposition or cancellation matter requires an experienced trademark attorney that can weigh the merits of litigation versus other dispute resolution alternatives.  To discuss a trademark opposition or trademark cancellation case based on a likelihood of confusion, please contact James Hastings or a member of the Collen TTAB litigation team.

For purposes of likelihood of confusion, not all beverage trademarks are created equal.

In Patrón Spirits International AG v. Conyngham Brewing Company, the Applicant sought registration of the mark PIRATE PISS for “beer, ale, and lager” in International Class 32.   Opposer Patron had opposed the application based on its ownership of the previously registered

The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has disclosed first and second quarter filing and pendency statistics for 2018.   Year to date (YTD) statistics as compared to the same period in 2017 include the following:

U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board filings

  • extensions of time to oppose:  9,498  (+2.7% YTD)
  • trademark oppositions: 3,211 (+4.3% YTD)

When it comes to trademark oppositions, it pays to be Kühl.

In Alfwear Inc. v. Shuff, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board was asked to consider whether the Applicant’s KU:L and design trademark for bicycles in International Class 12 created a likelihood of confusion with Opposer’s asserted “family” of KUHL trademarks for inter alia

When a brand owner’s trademark application is opposed,  there is a helpful checklist that it should consider.   By doing so, it will help the applicant assess the merits of the case, and determine the best course of action moving forward.   Here are some of the top defenses that can call into question the likelihood of

 In the trademark opposition case, Halo Trademarks Limited v. Halo 2 Cloud LLC,
Trademark imagethe Opposer opposed the intent to use application of Applicant’s mark HALO  for handbags, briefcases,  electric adapters and a wide variety of other business accessories on the ground of likelihood of confusion under Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act.  As the basis