David Lilenfeld Blog The intellectual property blog of David Lilenfeld

29Jan/165

Trademark Office Affirms Refusal to Register MAN O’WAR for Golf Equipment

By David Lilenfeld on January 29, 2016

Centex/Taylor, LLC filed an application to register the trademark MAN O’WAR for golf equipment. The trademark was refused under Section 2 (d) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052 (d) on the grounds that it resembled the already registered mark, MANOWAR, and thus is likely to cause confusion or deception.

The Examining Attorney presented evidence to show Centex/Taylor’s golf equipment and the already registered clothing items are related through third-party registrations. The Examining Attorney successfully demonstrated that the entities had registered a single mark for both golf items and clothing items. According to In re Albert Trostel & Sons Co., 29 USPQ2d 1783 (TTAB 1993), third-party registrations, which include different items and which are based on use in commerce, suggest that the goods may have emanated from a single source.

Man O'War posted by David Lilenfeld

Man O'War (courtesy Wikipedia)

Centex/Taylor admitted the same registrant often offers golf equipment and clothing items with identical trademarks. Also, past registrations serve to suggest that the goods emanate from the same source. Centex/Taylor’s arguments concerning use in the marketplace of the registrant’s mark are not persuasive. An applicant is not permitted to restrict the scope of the goods covered in the registrant’s registration by extrinsic evidence or unsupported statements. Therefore, Centex/Taylor’s unsupported statements do not rebut the Examining Attorney’s belief that these goods are related. Furthermore, since the registered goods are not limited to any specific channels of trade, there would be an overlap in trade channels.

While the appearance of Centex/Taylor’s trademark differs slightly from the trademark in the registration mainly because of an apostrophe in Centex/Taylor’s mark, the literal portion of the trademark is identical and the trademark sounds the same. Thus, Centex/Taylor did not persuade the TTAB that consumers would think of a racehorse when the mark is used in connection with golf equipment.

“TTAB ultimately affirmed the refusal to register because the marks are confusingly similar, the goods are related and the channels of trade are overlapping.  A fairly straightforward decision after all,” said David Lilenfeld, founder of intellectual property law firm, Lilenfeld PC.

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