The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board held there was no likelihood of confusion between Opposer’s IKEA mark and Applicant’s AKEA mark for nutritional supplements and informational services regarding lifestyle topics, but refused Akea’s application for retail store services.

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Inter IKEA Systems B.V. (“Ikea”) is a subsidiary of the IKEA Group, which is one of the world’s largest retailers and the owner of the trademark IKEA.  The IKEA mark is registered for retail store services in the field of furniture and home furnishings; and restaurant and catering services, in Class 42; various food products in Classes 29 and 30; plants and flowers in Class 31; and educational courses and seminars in various fields including retailing of furniture and home furnishings, personnel management, and personal development in Class 41.  

Akea filed an application to register the mark AKEA covering supplements and vitamins in Class 5; retail store services via direct solicitation and online featuring nutritional supplements, herbal supplements, and vitamin and mineral supplements, and providing advice and information in the field of career and business opportunities in Class 35; and providing advice on lifestyle topics of nutrition, diet planning, and nutritional supplements in Class 44. 

Ikea opposed the application asserting likelihood of confusion and dilution.

In determining whether there was a likelihood of confusion, the Board found that the IKEA mark was famous solely for its retail store services, and not for its food products and restaurant services.  The Board held that the marks were similar in both appearance and commercial impression, but that the only related goods and services were Ikea’s retail services and educational courses and seminars in the fields of “… personal development” and Akea’s “providing advice and information in the field of career and business opportunities.”  

The Board found Ikea failed to prove that Akea’s supplements and vitamins were offered in the same trade channels as any of Ikea’s goods.  Further, the Board held that because customers who bought Akea's supplements and advisory services were typically careful about what they put in their bodies and because the goods were not inexpensive, customers would exercise at least a modest degree of care in their purchasing decisions.  In balancing these factors, the Board found a likelihood of confusion between AKEA and IKEA only as to the retail and advisory services in Class 35 and therefore refused the registration for all of the Class 35 services.

Although the Board agreed that the IKEA mark was currently famous, it rejected Ikea’s dilution claim because Ikea failed to prove that its IKEA mark was famous and distinctive before the date Akea filed its application. 

Inter IKEA Systems, B.V. v. Akea, LLC, Opposition No 91196527 (TTAB May 2, 2014) [precedential].