Disputes involving the great BUDWEISER trademark are even older than LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® — the blog, not the secondary meaning thing. You know that because even in 2006 I wrote — already sounding like a tired old man — how ubiquitous Anheuser Busch’s enforcement adventures were.
Here’s the latest one to come to notice, via John Welch, and it does have to make you pine for a cold frosty to read how this went:
The TTAB sustained an opposition to registration of the mark WINEBUD for “alcoholic beverages except beers; wines and still wines and sparkling wines; beverages containing wine, namely, sparkling fruit wine and still fruit wine; ready to drink alcoholic beverages except beers,” finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the famous mark BUD registered for beer. The Board deemed the marks to be highly similar, the involved goods to be related, and the channels of trade and classes of consumers overlapping. The goods are purchased by ordinary consumers who are unlikely to exercise care in their purchases. Survey evidence corroborated the Board’s conclusion. Anheuser-Busch, LLC v. Innvopak Systems Pty Ltd., Opposition No. 91194148 (August 17, 2015) [precedential]. . . .
The marks: Applicant argued that WINEBUD is a “fanciful compound noun formed from the nouns WINE and BUD, an analogy to horticultural words such as ‘rosebud.'” It contended that wine drinkers would perceive the latter half of its mark as connoting the bud of a vine, not as a reference to BUDWEISER the beer or the BUD family of marks. According to Applicant, BUD refers to BUDWEISER and BUDWEISER refers to someone or something from Budweis, and Budweis is the former name of Ceské Budejovice, which is a small Czech town.
The Board was not persuaded, observing that there was no evidence that consumers would associate the mark BUDWEISER with a geographical location. Likewise as to the mark BUD, which is the more relevant mark here, there was no evidence that consumers would make a geographical connection.
There’s a lot more in John’s post, as usual, including the important issue of the role of a senior trademark holder’s fame in an opposition proceeding, which, as the TTAB’s opinion notes, while “not enough to establish likely confusion . . . puts a heavy thumb on Opposer’s side of the scale.”
Heavy thumb indeed (he said, foreshadowingly).
So I want to just think, together with you — which is better than thinking alone — about a couple of aspects of this opposition proceeding. Read More…