Thursday, 12 February 2009

US judge doesn't get it right

Afro-IP reported some time back that CC Africa had launched its new new brand name &Beyond. Suprisingly, we have since learnt that Abercrombie & Kent obtained a temporary restraining order in the US to prevent the former CC Africa from using the ampersand (“&”) in its new name “&Beyond” in the US (only) pending resolution of a trademark infringement suit over the right to use the ampersand as a trademark. A summary of the dispute is located here.

The comments made by Susan and Pete based in the US just about say it all:

Susan:
"& isn't this stupid? I see no confusion whatsoever between the names. It is "A&K" not "&AK". The letters are not similar. A&K uses initials AND &Beyond uses a word"

Pete:
What I find amazing is that if you Google "& travel" you'll get 738 million sites. Now that's ambiguity.

Afro-Leo wonders just how the US Patent Office granted exclusive rights without a disclaimer for the "&" (so common that it appears beneath his paw on the keyboard) in the first place (see below a copy of the USPTO website information relating to the registered mark):

Word Mark &
Goods and Services IC 039. US 100 105. G & S: Conducting sightseeing tours for others; arranging travel tours; making reservations and bookings for transportation; transport by boat, air, railway, and barge.
FIRST USE: 20080201.
FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20080201
Mark Drawing Code (5) WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS IN STYLIZED FORM
Serial Number 77351675
Filing Date December 13, 2007
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition May 6, 2008
Registration Number 3547995
Registration Date December 16, 2008
Owner (REGISTRANT) Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies, S.A. CORPORATION LUXEMBOURG 124, Boulevard de la Petrusse Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG L-2330
Attorney of Record Thomas P. Arden
Description of Mark Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of a stylized ampersand symbol.
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

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