The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently found no likelihood of confusion between two apparel marks.
In Manhattan International Trade, Inc. and Pure & Simple Concepts, Inc. v. Industrie IP Party, Limited, the Applicant sought to register the design mark FINEST QUALITY GARMENT MAKERS INDUSTRIE TURN OF THE CENTURY CLOTHING EST 1999 for clothing. Upon viewing the logo, the largest portion of the mark is “Garment Makers Industrie.” In its notice of opposition, Opposer alleged prior use and registration of a family of “INDUSTRY” marks for clothing, including INDUSTRY BY WORKWEAR, INDUSTRY UNION MADE PRODUCT, INDUSTRY GIRL, and additional marks for INDUSTRY with various design elements. As in all trademark opposition cases involving likelihood of confusion, Opposer bore the burden of proof.
In analyzing the likelihood of confusion factors, the Board determined that the goods were, in part, identical. Therefore, it also led to a presumption that the clothing products bearing the parties’ respective marks traveled in the same channels of trade. The Board went on to state “the legal identity of the goods, close relationship of the goods and services, and their overlapping channels of trade and classes of purchasers not only weigh heavily in favor of finding a likelihood of confusion, but also reduce the degree of similarity between the marks necessary to find a likelihood of confusion.” That being said, the Board concluded that in considering the parties’ marks in the entirety as to appearance, sound, connotation, and commercial impression, the “many differences between the marks outweigh their similarity.”
Moreover, the Board found that the Opposer’s INDUSTRY mark was weak, reasoning that:
the weaker an opposer’s mark, the closer an applicant’s mark can come without causing a likelihood of confusion and thereby invading what amounts to its comparatively narrower range of protection.
Based on the vast differences in the parties’ marks in their entireties, the weakness of the term “INDUSTRY” for clothing, and numerous references to third-party registrations containing the word “industry” in the record, the Board dismissed the opposition.
Practitioner’s Note: The Board also ruled that the Opposer did not establish that it had a “family” of marks, as Opposer’s evidence as to consumer recognition and other factors necessary to establish a family of marks was weak.