Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CAFC Affirms TTAB Dismissal of DOMAINE PINNACLE Section 2(d) Opposition

The CAFC affirmed the Board's dismissal [TTABlogged here] of an opposition to registration of the mark DOMAINE PINNACLE & Design (shown below) for "apple juices and apple-based non-alcoholic beverages" [DOMAINE disclaimed]. Opposer Franciscan Vineyards claimed likelihood of confusion with its registered marks PINNACLES and PINNACLE RANCHES for wine [RANCHES disclaimed]. However, the lack of evidence regarding the relatedness of the goods proved fatal at the Board, and the CAFC found no error in the TTAB's ruling. In re Franciscan Vineyards, Inc., Appeal No. 2014-1269 (Fed. Cir. December 9, 2014) [not precedential].

The CAFC concluded that substantial evidence supported the Board's factual findings underlying the relevant du Pont factors, and that the Board did not err in determining, based on the record evidence, that there was no likelihood of confusion.

Franciscan presented testimony to the Board that the parties were competitors in Canada and that Franciscan’s parent company owned three Canadian companies that sold wines and ciders. The Board correctly noted, however, that this evidence pertains to Canadian entities and is insufficient “to show that [Domaines Pinnacle’s] and [Franciscan’s] identified goods are related in some manner ....

Franciscan also argued that the Board "failed to follow In re Jakob Demmer KG, 219 U.S.P.Q. 1199 (T.T.A.B. 1983) to generally deem wines and non-alcoholic beverages related goods." The CAFC pointed out, however, that Jacob Demmer was an ex parte appeal wherein, as the Board correctly noted, the Board generally adopts a "more permissive stance with respect to the admissibility and probative value of evidence" than it does in an inter partes proceeding, in which the burden is on the opposer to introduce evidence that the goods are related.

And so the CAFC affirmed the dismissal of the opposition.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog note: The CAFC captioned its decision as if it were an ex parte appeal, although in fact it was an inter partes proceeding.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2013.


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