No, not that Juice. He’s got enough trouble already. (And no, not the Juice that has this guy all in a froth either.) I write, rather, about the too-clever-by-half would-be parodists recently sluiced through the ringer by a family-size panel of the TTAB in a case reported by, of course, John Welch, to wit:
An augmented panel (seven judges) of the TTAB sustained an opposition to registration of the mark THE HOUSE THAT JUICE BUILT for T-shirts, baseball caps, hats, jackets and sweatshirts, the mark “THE HOUSE THAT JUICE BUILT” for mugs, and the design mark shown immediately below for “T-shirts, baseball caps, hats, jackets and sweatshirts,” finding the first two marks likely to cause dilution-by-blurring of the Yankees’ registered marks THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT and the third likely to dilute its “Top Hat” design mark. The Board declined to consider applicant’s parody defense in its Section 43(c) analysis, because applicant asserted an intention to use the opposed marks as source indicators, which by definition is not a noncommercial use or a “fair use” exempted from a dilution claim. New York Yankees Partnership v. IET Products and Services, Inc., Opposition No. 91189692 (May 8, 2015) [precedential].
There’s a lot going on here, and John methodically mows through this Murderer’s Row of trademark jurisprudence at his post. What John is too delicate to mention is the central gag here: The house that “juice built,” see, is the house that “juice” — steroids — built. As the decision notes,
Applicant makes clear that it selected its THE HOUSE THAT JUICE BUILT mark to evoke Opposer’s famous mark for parodic purposes. Applicant’s President, Steven Lore, testified that its marks “play off of the idea that steroids are a player on MLB teams and the Yankees.”
“A player…” Lots of inside-baseball type lingo in this case. But by now, hopefully, you get the joke. In any event, I recommend John’s post just to help you remember a whole bunch of trademark law or to learn what you never did, as I do whenever I read his blog. I was, however, particularly interested in this bit: Read More…