The Empire State Building has been in the heart of New York City since 1931 and was recently at the heart of a beer logo in a case heard before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
In the recent case of ESRT Empire State Building, L.L.C. v. Michael Liang, The TTAB sided with ESRT that the use of its famous building within someone else’s beer logo would dilute (by blurring) its trademark rights.
The beer logo in this case belonged to trademark applicant Michael Liang who applied for the trademark on January 8, 2011 with the intent to use the mark in commerce for alcoholic and non-alcoholic styles of beer.
The TTAB found that ESRT’s mark is “famous for purposes of dilution”, that its mark is inherently distinctive or acquired its distinctiveness through its exclusive use of its mark and has a “strong degree of recognition. After considering all the evidence found, the TTAB ruled that applicant’s mark is likely to cause dilution by blurring ESRT’s mark.