Tuesday, September 19, 2006

TTAB Waters Down Registered "PERFECT CUP" Mark, Reverses 2(d) Refusal

The fact that the term "Perfect Cup" is a commonly-used phrase for coffee led the Board to reverse a Section 2(d) refusal to register the mark THE ART OF THE PERFECT CUP for electric coffee makers, coffee, tea, and chocolate. It found the mark not likely to cause confusion with the registered mark PERFECT CUP for ground coffee, instant cappuccino, and cocoa mix. In re Kraft Foods Schweiz Holding AG, Serial No. 78288562 (September 6, 2006) [not citable].

Applicant Kraft Foods Schweiz did not dispute that the goods are in part identical and otherwise related. But it did contend that the differences in the marks were sufficient to distinguish them and avoid confusion.

Applicant submitted a "substantial amount of evidence showing that 'perfect cup' is a commonly used phrase to refer to good-tasting coffee," including a listing of titles of various website articles, along with the title of one book (shown below).

The Board concluded that PERFECT CUP is a "well-recognized term that indicates that coffee tastes good." The Board observed that it could not treat the cited mark as laudatorily descriptive, "since the registration is entitled to the presumptions of Section 7(b) of the Trademark Act." However, "we can say that it is a highly suggestive term, and therefore that the registration is entitled to only a very limited scope of protection."

Turning to a comparison of the marks, the Board noted that, in view of the highly suggestive nature of "perfect cup," "consumers are not likely to believe that the marks identify a single source for the goods simply because they both contain this term." The Board agreed with Applicant that "the additional wording in its mark is sufficient to distinguish its mark from the cited mark."

Therefore, the Board reversed the refusal to register.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2006.


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