Friday, February 24, 2012

Test Your TTAB Judge-Ability: Are MANGO BEACH and MANGO Confusingly Similar for Soaps, Cosmetics, and Perfumes?

Applicant sought to register the mark MANGO BEACH for creams, powders, soap, perfume, and the like [MANGO disclaimed], but Opposer asserted a likelihood of confusion with its registered mark MANGO, in the stylized from shown below, for soaps, perfumery, and cosmetics. The goods are identical in part and the marks sure are close, aren't they? How do you think this came out? Consolidated Artists BV v. Camille Beckman Corporation, Opposition No. 91188863 (February 16, 2012) [not precedential].

The Board noted that the "minimal stylization" of Opposer's mark did not distinguish the marks, since Applicant's standard character mark must be considered without regard to font size, style, or color. Opposer contended that Applicant's mark includes the registered mark in its entirety, and the marks are consequently similar in "spelling sound and form."

The Board, however, found the connotations and commercial impressions of the two marks to be "very different." Applicant's mark is a unitary phrase, MANGO BEACH, which suggests a place. Opposer's mark evokes the fruit. These differences, the Board found, outweigh any similarities in appearance or sound.

Moreover, the word "mango" is merely descriptive of the scent of Applicant's products. Although there was no counterclaim attacking the registered mark, the Board may still make findings regarding the strength of the mark. The Board deemed MANGO to be highly suggestive for soaps and fragrances. Third-party registrations and use showed that the word "mango" is employed to describe the scent of the goods.

And so the Board ruled that confusion is not likely, and it dismissed the opposition.

TTABlog comment: How, you might ask, was MANGO registered for soap and cosmetics without at least a showing of acquired distinctiveness?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2012.


At 10:54 AM, Blogger Chris Palermo said...

Although Opposer may not have raised the issue, I question whether the form of use of MANGO BEACH shown in the blog image is valid trademark use. The form of use is not really a source identifier, but descriptive - giving a hint as to the product's scent. The source identifier is separate and appears in the line above.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger THE Rebecca said...

I think while on its face it appears that likelihood of confusion may arise. If we look to some of the factors considered in likelihood of confusion cases, we realize things are not always as they seem. Sophistication of the consumers is important to consider here, and even more importantly may be the channels of distribution. Are these products going to be sold right next to each other, in the same stores, or in separate locations all-together??


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