In a recent precedential opinion, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the Board) granted the petition to cancel two registrations for furniture polish and furniture on the ground of likelihood of confusion over Stickley’s use “analogous to trademark use” of ALS IK KAN for the same goods. L. & J.G. Stickley, Inc. v. Cosser, Cancellation No. 92040202 (Trademark Trial & Appeal Bd. Jan. 11, 2007) (Drost, ALJ).
The respondent, Cosser. was the owner of two registrations, one for furniture polish and the other for furniture. Both registrations were for the mark “THE CRAFTSMAN,” and included the Flemish phrase “ALS IK KAN,” which roughly translated means “as I can.” In December 2001, Stickley filed a petition to cancel Cosser’s registrations on the grounds that “Petitioner and its predecessors in interest have been using the mark THE CRAFTSMAN, ALS IK KAN … since at least as early as 1901.” Stickley further alleged that the mark was “unmistakably associated” with its predecessor in interest, Gustav Stickley. Gustav Stickley was a turn-of-the-century artisan who designed and sold “Mission” style furniture. Between 1901 and 1909, he registered the marks “CRAFTSMAN” and the “ALS IK KAN” mark (with compass design), but the registrations expired long ago, and the marks fell out of use for decades. In 1977, the petitioner, Stickley, founded by Gustav Stickley’s brothers, published a catalog in which the phrase “Als ik Kan: the pride of craftsmanship” appears at the top of one page and is said to be a trademark. The respondent, Cosser began using his mark on furniture polish in 1978. As to furniture, Cosser could rely only on his filing date of June 1997.
The “first key issue” was the question of priority. The Board found that Stickley had established by a preponderance of the evidence that it made use analogous to trademark use of the phrase ALS IK KAN and the woodworker’s compass in association with its furniture and furniture polish and that this use was established at least by the end of 1977 when its 1977 catalog was issued. In response to Cosser’s contention that Stickley had abandoned its marks, the Board noted that Stickley’s priority is based not on “petitioner’s use of the mark ... but rather as a result of petitioner’s use analogous to trademark use or trade name type use. We cannot say that there has been any abandonment of this type of use.” Having decided the question of priority in Stickley’s favor, the Board addressed other grounds upon which cancellation might be based. The Board concluded that Cosser had not used his mark on furniture prior to the filing date of his application for such goods and ordered this registration cancelled.
The Board then turned to the issue of likelihood of confusion. The Board reasoned that because the term “The Craftsman” would be “highly suggestive of furniture and furniture polish made by craftsman,” the term ALS IK KAN would likely have more “trademark significance to prospective purchasers.” Given the similarity of the parties’ marks and the overlapping nature of the goods, the Board determined that confusion was likely, and accordingly granted the petition to cancel.