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TTAB Rules No Likelihood of Confusion Between Designer Surnames

Published in Managing Intellectual Property
Article | November 2018

This article examines the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decision regarding the likelihood of confusion between trademarks that share a common surname for complementary fashion products. In Royal Chain, Inc. vs. Mansur Gavriel LLC, a notice of opposition was filed against Mansur Gavriel's trademark application for the mark MANSUR GAVRIEL (consisting of the two surnames of its founders) that covers "handbags; tote bags; purses; wallets," claiming that the mark resembled its registered PHILLIP GAVRIEL mark that covers jewelry, and was therefore likely to cause confusion.

Royal Chain was unable to meet its burden of proving priority of use by a preponderance of the evidence, and the TTAB dismissed the opposition. However, for purposes of completeness, the TTAB did address the issue of a likelihood of confusion between the marks. While it found the products to be complementary and potentially offered through the same channels of trade to the same classes of consumers, based on the evidence, the TTAB determined that there was no likelihood of confusion between the marks.

This decision is particularly instructive for companies in the fashion industry, which often use and seek to register a designer's name or a combination of designers' names as a trademark.

Read "TTAB Rules No Likelihood of Confusion Between Designer Surnames" in its entirety.

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