This opposition involved a straight-forward likelihood of confusion analysis. Opposer owned a registration for the mark BLACK GIRLS ROCK! for clothing and entertainment services, and opposed an application for BLACK MEN ROCK for clothing and educational services.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) acknowledged that there were differences between the marks, but found that the similarities outweighed the differences.
There was an overlap in the specific items of clothing included in the registration and the application. The services were not identical, but the TTAB found they were related. The registered mark covered volunteer programs for at-risk teenage women of color, and award shows, concerts and live musical performances. The application covered live and on-line classes in the field of personal development. The TTAB found that Opposer's charitable services, which included organization of volunteer programs and mentoring, were related to educational services covered by the application.
The record also showed overlap in consumers. Opposer submitted evidence that Opposer's mentoring services were offered to "black men." In addition, Opposer argued that, since the application did not restrict the educational services to "black men," those services could also be rendered to "black girls."
Since neither the registration nor the application included any restrictions as to the channels of trade, the goods were presumed to travel in the same channels of trade. The TTAB found the fact that both parties’ goods and services were advertised and offered through the internet to be insufficient to establish an overlap in the channels of trade for the services.
The TTAB was not persuaded by Applicant's argument that, because there was nothing in the record regarding the extent of Applicant’s use of its mark, there could be no meaningful opportunity for confusion. Weighing all of the factors, the TTAB concluded there was likelihood of confusion, and sustained the opposition.
This case seems too straightforward to be designated by the TTAB as precedential. The likely reason that the TTAB designated this case as precedential is that the opinion discusses the efficiency of the Board’s Accelerated Case Resolution procedure ("ACR"). The parties agreed to rely on evidence submitted in connection with each party's previously filed cross-motions for summary judgement, reserving the right to file supplemental declarations if necessary. As a result, the case was decided in a summary bench trial.
Beverly A. Bond v. Michael Taylor; Opposition No. 91213606 (TTAB, June 16, 2016) [precedential]