Thursday, July 19, 2007

Finding Faucets and Cocks Related, TTAB Affirms 2(d) Refusal of "HANCOCK"

In one of a series of rather boring Section 2(d) decisions issued in recent weeks, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal to register the mark HANCOCK for "plumbing products, namely faucets," not surprisingly finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the identical mark registered for "valves, strainers, and cocks." The real question here is why the Applicant bothered to appeal. In re Masco Corp. of Indiana, Serial No. 78607509 (July 12, 2007) [not presidential].

cock valve

Applicant Masco argued that Registrant's products are "heavy-duty" industrial valves, whereas its goods are consumer faucets. The channels of trade are therefore remote from each other, Masco contended, and the goods "have no relationship whatsoever."

There was one big problem with that argument: as Examining Attorney Susan Kastriner Lawrence pointed out, neither the application nor the cited registration contained any limitations on the nature of the goods or the channels of trade. [TTABlog note: the attempt to limit the identification of goods in an involved application or registration may be the number one losing argument at the TTAB, at least according to my article entitled The Top Ten Losing TTAB Arguments, Section 1].

The Examining Attorney submitted Internet material from five companies offering a variety of plumbing products, including faucets, strainers, valves, and cocks. Furthermore, 22 third-party registrations confirmed the relatedness of the involved goods.

faucet

Once again, the Board cited Octocom Systems Inc. v. Houston Computer Services, Inc., 16 USPQ2d 1783, 1787 (Fed. Cir. 1990) for the proposition that the issue of likelihood of confusion must be decided on the basis of the goods as identified in the involved application and registration, "and not in light of what such goods are asserted to actually be."

The Board concluded that the goods of the parties, "as broadly identified in the respective application and cited registration ... clearly are commercially related plumbing products which would be marketed to the same classes of purchasers and would share identical channels of trade."

Therefore the Board found confusion likely and affirmed the 2(d) refusal.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2007.

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