Friday, January 19, 2018

CC & Design for Accounting Services Dilutes Chanel's Famous CC Monogram, says TTAB

In a rare Section 43(c) dilution decision, the Board sustained Chanel's opposition to registration of the mark shown below left, for accounting services, finding the mark likely to cause dilution by blurring of Chanel's famous CC Monogram mark, shown below right. Applicant Camacho & Camacho, appearing pro se, submitted no evidence or testimony and did not file a brief. The Board found that Chanel's Monogram mark is a "household name" synonymous with high fashion and style, and that the two marks are "highly similar" in appearance and commercial impression. Chanel, Inc. v. Camacho & Camacho, LLP, Opposition No. 91229126 (January 12, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Christopher Larkin).

In order to prove dilution, Opposer Chanel was first required to show that its Monogram mark became famous before applicant's first use date of January 8, 2002. Chanel submitted numerous pre-2002 advertisements for fashion and cosmetic products in which the Monogram mark appears. Its advertising and promotional expenditures were very substantial. The Monogram mark has been used for more than 90 years on Chanel's products, and many millions of units have been sold.

Although Chanel offered no probative evidence regarding the extent of actual recognition of the Monogram mark, the Board found that the Monogram mark became famous prior to 2002. The evidence persuaded the Board that the Monogram mark "enjoys widespread recognition among the general public and is a 'household name' synonymous with high fashion and style for the products and services identified in its pleaded registrations, and is therefore famous for dilution purposes."

As to the marks, the Board found their differences "insignificant," pointing out that side-by-side comparison is not the relevant test. Concluding that the marks are "highly similar in appearance and commercial impression," it found that "the appearance of the marks overall is sufficiently similar that Applicant's mark 'will trigger consumers to conjure up' Opposer's famous mark."

And so the Board sustained the opposition.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog comment: I'm not convinced. The marks are too dissimilar in my view. I can't imagine the Camacho mark calling to mind the Chanel logo. And I have doubts about the "household name" finding in view of the lack of survey evidence or any other evidence of consumer recognition.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.


At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It helps to have no opposing counsel, I suppose.

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As soon as I saw the marks and before reading the opinion, I thought "Chanel." I think the Chanel logo is literally one of the most famous, recognizable marks worldwide (counterfeits, anyone?). Camacho had no business adopting a look-alike and clearly wasn't strongly committed to its mark.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Paul Reidl said...

A very thin record. I agree with John.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Ron Coleman said...

I don't understand how this is a thin record, Paul. The opinion goes on for pages establishing all the bona fides you could want with respect to use of the Opposer's mark and the development of secondary meaning and fame -- promotion, prestige, placement, products and other p words.

John says only that there was no actual confusion and no survey. Does anyone who reads this blog doubt that these factors are relied on by courts when they support a tribunal's inclination to go in a given direction, and in the alternative ignored or downplayed when they cut in the other direction?

I was intrigued, however, by the analysis that essentially rejected the suggestion that even a super-famous mark can borrow a finding of fame from another case. That part of the decision was careful and well supported.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger John L. Welch said...

On the issue of borrowing fame from another case, why should a party be bound by a factual finding (fame) from another case in which it was not a party and had no chance to contest the finding? Should the finding of fame in this case, where the applicant put up no fight, bind the next party that Chanel goes after? Of course not.

At 5:41 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

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