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Reading the Letter “V” as an Inverted “A”

Posted by James Juo | Nov 21, 2022 | 0 Comments

The TTAB recently held that consumers were likely to understand the “V” in FLVSH to be an inverted “A” and “read” the mark as FLASH; such that the marks will make the same commercial impression and have the same connotation. In re Uri Charles, Ser. No. 90235507 (TTAB Nov. 10, 2022).

Even coined terms can be found to be similar to other registered marks when the marks are similar in sight, sound, meaning and commercial impression. See also Inter Ikea Sys. B.V. v. Akea, LLC, 110 USPQ2d 1734, 1741 (TTAB 2014) (finding IKEA and AKEA confusingly similar, stating “[w]here, as here, both marks are coined terms that look alike and sound alike and there are no known differences in the meaning to distinguish them, the marks engender a similar commercial impression”) (citations omitted); Atlas Supply Co. v. The Dayton Rubber Co., 125 USPQ 529, 530 (TTAB 1960) (“The marks ‘PLYCRON' and ‘NYCRON' are similar in composition, they bear a marked resemblance in sound, and they are both coined terms having no apparent meaning other than as trademarks. In view thereof, it is believed that purchasers of tires might reasonably attribute a common origin to ‘PLYCRON' tires and ‘NYCRON' cord for making tires ….”).

Slight differences in spelling that might be apparent with a side-by-side comparison of trademarks, might not be noticed by consumers when the marks are separately considered, particularly for the same or related goods and services, and when taking into consideration the fallibility of memory over a period of time and the fact that purchasers normally retain a general rather than a specific recollection of trademarks. See, e.g., In re Viterra Inc., 671 F.3d 1358, 101 USPQ2d 1905, 1912 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (XCEED and X-Seed and design similar); In re Great Lakes Canning, Inc., 227 USPQ 483, 485 (TTAB 1985) (CAYNA similar to CANA); In re Bear Brand Hosiery Co., 194 USPQ 444, 445-46 (TTAB 1977) (KIKS similar to KIKI).

“The proper perspective on which the analysis [of the similarity or dissimilarity of the commercial impression of trademarks] must focus is on the recollection of the average customer, who retains a general rather than specific impression of marks.” In re, llc, 127 USPQ2d 1627, 1630 (TTAB 2018).

The trademark attorneys at Thomas P. Howard, LLC enforce trademarks or defend against infringement nationwide including in Colorado.

About the Author

James Juo

James Juo is an experienced intellectual property attorney. He has successfully litigated various intellectual property disputes involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. He also has counseled clients on the scope and validity of patent and trademark rights.


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