Thursday, May 26, 2022

TTABlog Test: Are Table Lamps and Lighting Fixtures Related for Section 2(d) Purposes?

The USPTO refused registration of the mark AJ LAMPS for "Lighting apparatus, namely, table lamps" [LAMPS disclaimed], on the ground of likelihood of confusion with the registered mark AJ for "Lighting fixtures; HID lighting fixtures." The Board unsurprisingly found the marks to be similar, but what about the goods? Applicant argued that the Board cannot presume that goods are related solely because they perform the same function of providing artificial light. How do you think the appeal came out? In re Louis Poulsen A/S, Serial No. 88933093 (May 18, 2022) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Angela Lykos).

Applicant relied on In re Princeton Tectonics, Inc., 95 USPQ2d 1509 (TTAB 2010) wherein the Board reversed a Section 2(d) refusal based on a determination that “personal headlamps” were unrelated to “lighting fixtures.” [TTABlogged here]. The Board, however, pointed out that the evidence of record here supports a finding of relatedness, whereas the evidence in Princeton Tectonics did not.

Even assuming that registrant's "lighting fixtures" does not encompass "table lamps," Examining Attorney Mariam Aziz Mahmoudi submitted ample evidence from third-party websites to show the goods are related (e.g., Pottery Barn, Ethan Allen, Bed Bath & Beyond).

[I]t is not uncommon for such entities to manufacture and offer for sale table lamps and lighting fixtures (e.g. chandeliers, flush mount and semi-flush mount fixtures) either via their self-branded direct-to-consumer websites or in their own self-branded brick-and-mortar retail stores.

The Board noted that, although some of the marks were house marks, they did not identify a broad range of goods, but were limited to home furnishings and decor. Moreover, the evidence showed that table lamps and lighting fixtures are complementary products: some manufacturers offer sub-brands in co-ordinating designs and styles.

Applicant argued that its goods are designed by a world-renowned architect (Danish designer Arne Jacobsen), noting that "[t]he base of the table lamp was originally intended to accommodate an ashtray but now contributes solely to the design." Consequently they are sold in different channels of trade to different classes of consumers than applicant's mundane lighting fixtures. The Board, however, pointed out that there are no such limitations or restrictions in the application or cited registration, and so these real-world facts were irrelevant.

Likewise, applicant's argument regarding the sophistication and care of its customers was irrelevant, since the identified goods encompass inexpensive products, and the Board must consider purchases by the least sophisticated consumer.

And so, the Board affirmed the refusal.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlogger comment: How close is this to being a WYHA?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2022.


At 10:35 AM, Blogger TMAttorneyHeller said...

100% close

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The TTAB's war on mid-century design continues. :-)


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