The TTAB affirmed a refusal to register the mark STYLEHOUSE, in the form shown below, for various clothing items, finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the registered mark STYLEHAÜS for "retail clothing boutiques." Applicant contended that registrant's "German-sounding term" is readily distinguishable, and that registrant's stores offer styling by appointment and hand-picked merchandise sold to sophisticated purchasers. The Board was unimpressed. In re Mutyaar Inc., Serial No. 86345866 (February 17, 2016) [not precedential].
The Marks: The Board concluded that the marks sound the same and have similar appearances. The umlaut in the cited mark does not change the impression that HAÜS is the same as HAUS, and the Board considered "house" and "haus" to be equivalent. Registrant's mark is in standard character form, and could be displayed in "iterations similar to applicant's." Therefore, the minimal stylization in the applied-for mark does little to distinguish the marks.
The Goods/Services: The Board observed that it is "well recognized that confusion may be likely to occur from the use of the same or similar marks for goods, on the one hand, and for services involving those goods, on the other." Applicant's clothing items are the type of goods that would be sold in registrant's boutiques.
Moreover, Examining Attorney Jordan A. Baker submitted 25 use-based third-party registrations each covering various clothing items and retail clothing boutique services. The record also included evidence of third-party use of marks for both clothing and for boutique services.
Registrant's services constitute an trade channel for applicant's goods, and the customers overlap to the extent offered to the general public.Applicant's assertions that registrant's services are provided goods only in Los Angeles through personal stylists were irrelevant because the determination of likely confusion must be made in light of the services as recited in the cited registration, regardless of what the evidence shows the actual services to be.
Similarly, applicant's sophistication argument failed because registrant's recitation of services did not limit its customers to those who are particularly careful or sophisticated. Nothing in the record showed that purchasers of clothing in retail boutiques exercise greater care than others in purchasing clothing. Moreover, applicant's clothing items may be subject to impulse purchasing.
Balancing the relevant du Pont factors, the Board found confusion likely and it affirmed the refusal to register.