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Posted by James Juo | Apr 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

Two marks could be confusingly similar where they share the same words “in reverse or transposed order.” Made in Nature, LLC v. Pharmavite LLC, 2022 USPQ2d 557, at *39 (TTAB 2022) (finding MADE IN NATURE and NATURE MADE to be similar and noting that “[w]here transposed marks convey similar commercial impressions, likelihood of confusion is ordinarily found”).

            The “reversal in one mark of the essential elements of another mark may serve as a basis for a finding of no likelihood of confusion only if the transposed marks create distinctly different commercial impressions.” In re Nationwide Indus. Inc., 6 USPQ2d 1882, 1884 (TTAB 1988) (affirming refusal to register RUST BUSTER for rust-penetrating spray lubricant over BUST RUST for penetrating oil); see also In re Wine Soc'y of Am., Inc., 12 USPQ2d 1139, 1142 (TTAB 1989) (“Where the sole significant difference between the marks applied to similar goods or services is the transposition of the words which compose those marks and where the transposition of words does not change the overall commercial impression, confusion has been found.”); but see In re Best Prods. Co., 231 USPQ 988, 989-90 (TTAB 1986) (finding that BEST JEWELRY and design for retail jewelry stores services was not confusingly similar to JEWELERS' BEST for bracelets); In re Akzona Inc., 219 USPQ 94, 95-96 (TTAB 1983) (finding that SILKY TOUCH for synthetic yarn and TOUCH O' SILK for men's clothing were not confusingly similar).

The TTAB recently found that the applied-for GAMEGUARDIAN mark conveyed a dissimilar overall commercial impression from the cited GUARDIAN GAMES registration. In re Laxamentum Techs., LLC, Ser. No. 90441532 (TTAB Apr. 25, 2023).

Applicant's compound mark GAMEGUARDIAN for “Providing website featuring a forum on video game cheats, video game information, news, game play strategies, frequently asked questions about video games, journals, previews, reviews and commentary on video games” connotes a person or thing that “guards, watches over, or protects” a game. The cited GUARDIAN GAMES mark for “Retail games stores; Retail store services featuring games” connotes a brand of retail stores selling multiple games, or the “family” name of the games….

The TTAB found that that the dissimilarity of the marks outweighed the similarity of the services. “The marks are sufficiently dissimilar to make confusion unlikely when used in connection with related, but not identical, services.”

Thomas P. Howard, LLC is experienced in trademarks 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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