|To:||Rastogi Handicrafts (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|Subject:||U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 88516643 - RH - N/A|
|Sent:||October 08, 2019 07:07:40 PM|
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United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
Office Action (Official Letter) About Applicant’s Trademark Application
U.S. Application Serial No. 88516643
Applicant: Rastogi Handicrafts
Reference/Docket No. N/A
Correspondence Email Address:
The USPTO must receive applicant’s response to this letter within six months of the issue date below or the application will be abandoned. Respond using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). A link to the appropriate TEAS response form appears at the end of this Office action.
Issue date: October 08, 2019
The referenced application has been reviewed by the assigned trademark examining attorney. Applicant must respond timely and completely to the issue(s) below. 15 U.S.C. §1062(b); 37 C.F.R. §§2.62(a), 2.65(a); TMEP §§711, 718.03.
Registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the marks in U.S. Registration Nos. 4708768 and 5775884. Trademark Act Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); see TMEP §§1207.01 et seq. See the attached registrations.
Trademark Act Section 2(d) bars registration of an applied-for mark that is so similar to a registered mark that it is likely consumers would be confused, mistaken, or deceived as to the commercial source of the goods and/or services of the parties. See 15 U.S.C. §1052(d). Likelihood of confusion is determined on a case-by-case basis by applying the factors set forth in In re E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 476 F.2d 1357, 1361, 177 USPQ 563, 567 (C.C.P.A. 1973) (called the “du Pont factors”). In re i.am.symbolic, llc, 866 F.3d 1315, 1322, 123 USPQ2d 1744, 1747 (Fed. Cir. 2017). Only those factors that are “relevant and of record” need be considered. M2 Software, Inc. v. M2 Commc’ns, Inc., 450 F.3d 1378, 1382, 78 USPQ2d 1944, 1947 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (citing Shen Mfg. Co. v. Ritz Hotel Ltd., 393 F.3d 1238, 1241, 73 USPQ2d 1350, 1353 (Fed. Cir. 2004)); see In re Inn at St. John’s, LLC, 126 USPQ2d 1742, 1744 (TTAB 2018).
Although not all du Pont factors may be relevant, there are generally two key considerations in any likelihood of confusion analysis: (1) the similarities between the compared marks and (2) the relatedness of the compared goods and/or services. See In re i.am.symbolic, llc, 866 F.3d at 1322, 123 USPQ2d at 1747 (quoting Herbko Int’l, Inc. v. Kappa Books, Inc., 308 F.3d 1156, 1164-65, 64 USPQ2d 1375, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2002)); Federated Foods, Inc. v. Fort Howard Paper Co.,544 F.2d 1098, 1103, 192 USPQ 24, 29 (C.C.P.A. 1976) (“The fundamental inquiry mandated by [Section] 2(d) goes to the cumulative effect of differences in the essential characteristics of the goods [or services] and differences in the marks.”); TMEP §1207.01.
Applicant’s mark is “RH” with stylization and design for “mugs; coffee mugs; moscow mule mug; cups; beer glasses; beer jugs; beer mugs; coasters, not of paper or textile; drinking glasses; shot glasses; tumblers for use as drinking glasses; drinking straws; beverage stirrers; ice cube molds; ice cube trays; ice tongs; containers for household use; kitchen containers; insulated containers for food or beverages; bowls; trash cans; pans; bakeware; pots; silicone baking cups; paper baking cups; cake decorating sets sold as a unit comprised primarily of decorating tubes, couplers and tips; cookery molds; cookie cutters; baking mats; dishes; table napkin holders; candle holders; holder for cutting board; pots holders; cocktail shakers; cocktail picks; cocktail glasses; fruit muddlers; swizzle sticks; drinking straws; bottle openers; bottle stoppers specially adapted for use with wine bottles; wine aerators; wine glasses; wine pourers; wine drip collars specially adapted for use around the top of wine bottles to stop drips; cups and mugs; insulating sleeve holder for beverage cups; insulating sleeve holders for beverage cans” in International Class 21.
The mark in U.S. Registration No. 4708768 is “RH” in standard characters for goods including “baskets for domestic use, not of metal; laundry hampers for domestic or household use; candle holders not of precious metal; decorative glass bottles and jars; containers not of precious metal for small items for household use; serving trays; decorative bowls; drinking cups for babies and children; general purpose storage bins for household use; wine openers” in International Class 21.
The mark in U.S. Registration No. 5775884 is “RH” with stylization and design for goods and services including “cups and mugs; drinking glasses; wine glasses; beer glasses; shot glasses” in International Class 21.
Comparison of the Marks
Marks are compared in their entireties for similarities in appearance, sound, connotation, and commercial impression. Stone Lion Capital Partners, LP v. Lion Capital LLP, 746 F.3d 1317, 1321, 110 USPQ2d 1157, 1160 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (quoting Palm Bay Imps., Inc. v. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Maison Fondee En 1772, 396 F.3d 1369, 1371, 73 USPQ2d 1689, 1691 (Fed. Cir. 2005)); TMEP §1207.01(b)-(b)(v). “Similarity in any one of these elements may be sufficient to find the marks confusingly similar.” In re Inn at St. John’s, LLC, 126 USPQ2d 1742, 1746 (TTAB 2018) (citing In re Davia, 110 USPQ2d 1810, 1812 (TTAB 2014)); TMEP §1207.01(b).
In a likelihood of confusion determination, the marks in their entireties are compared for similarities in appearance, sound, connotation, and commercial impression. In re i.am.symbolic, llc, 866 F.3d 1315, 1323, 123 USPQ2d 1744, 1748 (Fed. Cir. 2017); Stone Lion Capital Partners, LP v. Lion Capital LLP, 746 F.3d 1317, 1321, 110 USPQ2d 1157, 1160 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (quoting Palm Bay Imps., Inc. v. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Maison Fondee En 1772, 396 F.3d 1369, 1371, 73 USPQ2d 1689, 1691 (Fed. Cir. 2005)); In re E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 476 F.2d 1357, 1361, 177 USPQ 563, 567 (C.C.P.A. 1973); TMEP §1207.01(b)-(b)(v).
In the present case, the applicant’s mark is “RH” and registrants’ marks are each “RH”. Thus the word portions of the marks are identical in appearance, sound, and meaning, “and have the potential to be used . . . in exactly the same manner.” In re i.am.symbolic, llc, 116 USPQ2d 1406, 1411 (TTAB 2015), aff’d, 866 F.3d 1315, 123 USPQ2d 1744 (Fed. Cir. 2017). Additionally, because the word portions are identical, these marks are likely to engender the same connotation and overall commercial impression when considered in connection with applicant’s and registrant’s respective goods and/or services. Id.
When evaluating a composite mark consisting of words and a design, the word portion is normally accorded greater weight because it is likely to make a greater impression upon purchasers, be remembered by them, and be used by them to refer to or request the goods and/or services. In re Aquitaine Wine USA, LLC, 126 USPQ2d 1181, 1184 (TTAB 2018) (citing In re Viterra Inc., 671 F.3d 1358, 1362, 101 USPQ2d 1905, 1908 (Fed. Cir. 2012)); TMEP §1207.01(c)(ii). Thus, although marks must be compared in their entireties, the word portion is often considered the dominant feature and is accorded greater weight in determining whether marks are confusingly similar, even where the word portion has been disclaimed. In re Viterra Inc., 671 F.3d at 1366-67, 101 USPQ2d at 1911 (citing Giant Food, Inc. v. Nation’s Foodservice, Inc., 710 F.2d 1565, 1570-71, 218 USPQ2d 390, 395 (Fed. Cir. 1983)). Thus, the design and stylization elements in applicant’s mark and the mark in Registration No. 5775884 do not obviate the similarities between applicant’s and the registered marks.
Regarding Registration No. 4708768 specifically, a mark in typed or standard characters may be displayed in any lettering style; the rights reside in the wording or other literal element and not in any particular display or rendition. See In re Viterra Inc., 671 F.3d 1358, 1363, 101 USPQ2d 1905, 1909 (Fed. Cir. 2012); In re Mighty Leaf Tea, 601 F.3d 1342, 1348, 94 USPQ2d 1257, 1260 (Fed. Cir. 2010); 37 C.F.R. §2.52(a); TMEP §1207.01(c)(iii). Thus, a mark presented in stylized characters and/or with a design element, such as applicant’s, generally will not avoid likelihood of confusion with a mark in typed or standard characters, such as registrant’s, because the word portion could be presented in the same manner of display. See, e.g., In re Viterra Inc., 671 F.3d at 1363, 101 USPQ2d at 1909; Squirtco v. Tomy Corp., 697 F.2d 1038, 1041, 216 USPQ 937, 939 (Fed. Cir. 1983) (stating that “the argument concerning a difference in type style is not viable where one party asserts rights in no particular display”).
For the aforementioned reasons, consumers are likely to mistakenly believe that applicant’s and registrants’ respective marks identify the same source. Thus, the marks are confusingly similar.
Comparison of the Goods
The compared goods and/or services need not be identical or even competitive to find a likelihood of confusion. See On-line Careline Inc. v. Am. Online Inc., 229 F.3d 1080, 1086, 56 USPQ2d 1471, 1475 (Fed. Cir. 2000); Recot, Inc. v. Becton, 214 F.3d 1322, 1329, 54 USPQ2d 1894, 1898 (Fed. Cir. 2000); TMEP §1207.01(a)(i). They need only be “related in some manner and/or if the circumstances surrounding their marketing are such that they could give rise to the mistaken belief that [the goods and/or services] emanate from the same source.” Coach Servs., Inc. v. Triumph Learning LLC, 668 F.3d 1356, 1369, 101 USPQ2d 1713, 1722 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (quoting 7-Eleven Inc. v. Wechsler, 83 USPQ2d 1715, 1724 (TTAB 2007)); TMEP §1207.01(a)(i).
Determining likelihood of confusion is based on the description of the goods and/or services stated in the application and registration at issue, not on extrinsic evidence of actual use. See In re Detroit Athletic Co., 903 F.3d 1297, 1307, 128 USPQ2d 1047, 1052 (Fed. Cir. 2018) (citing In re i.am.symbolic, llc, 866 F.3d 1315, 1325, 123 USPQ2d 1744, 1749 (Fed. Cir. 2017)).
In this case, the application uses broad wording to describe “cups; bowls; containers for domestic use; candle holders; bottle openers” which presumably encompasses all goods of the type described, including the narrower “drinking cups for babies and children; decorative bowls; containers not of precious metal for small items for household use; baskets for domestic use, not of metal; laundry hampers for domestic or household use; general purpose storage bins for household use; candle holders not of precious metal; wine openers” in Registration No. 4708768. Similarly, registrant’s “cups and mugs; drinking glasses” in Registration No. 5775884 presumably encompasses applicant’s “mugs; cups; coffee mugs; Moscow mule mug; tumblers for use as drinking glasses; silicone baking cups; paper baking cups; cocktail glasses.” See, e.g., In re Solid State Design Inc., 125 USPQ2d 1409, 1412-15 (TTAB 2018); Sw. Mgmt., Inc. v. Ocinomled, Ltd., 115 USPQ2d 1007, 1025 (TTAB 2015). Thus, applicant’s and registrant’s goods are legally identical. See, e.g., In re i.am.symbolic, llc, 127 USPQ2d 1627, 1629 (TTAB 2018) (citing Tuxedo Monopoly, Inc. v.Gen. Mills Fun Grp., Inc., 648 F.2d 1335, 1336, 209 USPQ 986, 988 (C.C.P.A. 1981); Inter IKEA Sys. B.V. v. Akea, LLC, 110 USPQ2d 1734, 1745 (TTAB 2014); Baseball Am. Inc. v. Powerplay Sports Ltd., 71 USPQ2d 1844, 1847 n.9 (TTAB 2004)). Moreover, applicant’s “cups and mugs; drinking glasses; wine glasses; beer glasses; shot glasses” are identical to those identified in Registration No. 5775884.
Additionally, the goods of the parties have no restrictions as to nature, type, channels of trade, or classes of purchasers and are “presumed to travel in the same channels of trade to the same class of purchasers.” In re Viterra Inc., 671 F.3d 1358, 1362, 101 USPQ2d 1905, 1908 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (quoting Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Packard Press, Inc., 281 F.3d 1261, 1268, 62 USPQ2d 1001, 1005 (Fed. Cir. 2002)). Thus, applicant’s and registrant’s goods are related.
Further, the attached Internet evidence from farberware.com, farberwarecookware.com, pfz.com, lecreuset.com, and oxo.com establishes that the same entity commonly provides the relevant goods and markets the goods under the same mark. Specifically, entities commonly provide and market any number of various bakeware, cookware, drinkware, containers, holders, serving ware, and kitchen utensils, gadgets, and implements together under the same mark. This is also illustrated by the very fact that applicant indicates it is providing all of the listed goods in its application. Thus, applicant’s and registrant’s goods are considered related for likelihood of confusion purposes. See, e.g., In re Davey Prods. Pty Ltd., 92 USPQ2d 1198, 1202-04 (TTAB 2009); In re Toshiba Med. Sys. Corp., 91 USPQ2d 1266, 1268-69, 1271-72 (TTAB 2009).
For the foregoing reasons, registration is refused under Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act.
Registration is refused because the specimen does not show the applied-for mark in use in commerce in connection with any of the goods and/or services specified in International Class 25 in the application or amendment to allege use. Trademark Act Sections 1 and 45, 15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1127; 37 C.F.R. §§2.34(a)(1)(iv), 2.56(a); In re Keep A Breast Found., 123 USPQ2d 1869, 1876-79 (TTAB 2017); In re Graystone Consulting Assocs., Inc., 115 USPQ2d 2035, 2037-38 (TTAB 2015); TMEP §§904, 904.07(a), 1301.04(d), (g)(i). Specifically, the specimen shows a number of product listings on a third-party website for a bottle and glass set, a decorative door hanging, and a cushion or pillow. Conversely, applicant has identified the following goods in Class 25: bottoms as clothing; coverups; pajamas; pants; scarves; shirts; swimsuits; t-shirts; tops as clothing; women's clothing, namely, shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses. Accordingly, applicant has not shown the mark used in connection with any of the goods identified in Class 25.
An application based on Trademark Act Section 1(a) must include a specimen showing the applied-for mark in use in commerce for each international class of goods and/or services identified in the application or amendment to allege use. 15 U.S.C. §1051(a)(1); 37 C.F.R. §§2.34(a)(1)(iv), 2.56(a); TMEP §§904, 904.07(a).
Examples of specimens for goods include tags, labels, instruction manuals, containers, photographs that show the mark on the actual goods or packaging, and displays associated with the actual goods at their point of sale. See TMEP §§904.03 et seq. Webpages may also be specimens for goods when they include a picture or textual description of the goods associated with the mark and the means to order the goods. TMEP §904.03(i). Examples of specimens for services include advertising and marketing materials, brochures, photographs of business signage and billboards, and webpages that show the mark used in the actual sale, rendering, or advertising of the services. See TMEP §1301.04(a), (h)(iv)(C). Specimens comprising advertising and promotional materials must show a direct association between the mark and the services. TMEP §1301.04(f)(ii).
Applicant may respond to this refusal by satisfying one of the following for each applicable international class:
(1) Submit a different specimen (a verified “substitute” specimen) that (a) was in actual use in commerce at least as early as the filing date of the application or prior to the filing of an amendment to allege use and (b) shows the mark in actual use in commerce for the goods and/or services identified in the application or amendment to allege use. A “verified substitute specimen” is a specimen that is accompanied by the following statement made in a signed affidavit or supported by a declaration under 37 C.F.R. §2.20: “The substitute (or new, or originally submitted, if appropriate) specimen(s) was/were in use in commerce at least as early as the filing date of the application or prior to the filing of the amendment to allege use.” The substitute specimen cannot be accepted without this statement.
(2) Amend the filing basis to intent to use under Section 1(b), for which no specimen is required. This option will later necessitate additional fee(s) and filing requirements such as providing a specimen.
For an overview of both response options referenced above and instructions on how to satisfy either option online using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) form, please go to http://www.gov.uspto.report/trademarks/law/specimen.jsp.
Although applicant’s mark has been refused registration, applicant may respond to the refusal(s) by submitting evidence and arguments in support of registration. However, if applicant responds to the refusal(s), applicant must also respond to the requirement(s) set forth below.
IDENTIFICATION OF GOODS REQUIREMENT
The wording “pots holders” in the identification of goods is indefinite and must be clarified because the pluralization is uncommon such that the nature of the goods is unclear. See 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(6); TMEP §1402.01.
Applicant is advised to delete or modify the duplicate entry in the identification of goods and/or services in International Class 21 for “drinking straws.” See generally TMEP §§1402.01, 1402.01(a). If applicant does not respond to this issue, be advised that the USPTO will remove duplicate entries from the identification prior to registration.
If modifying one of the duplicate entries, applicant may amend it to clarify or limit the goods and/or services, but not to broaden or expand the goods and/or services beyond those in the original application or as acceptably amended. See 37 C.F.R. §2.71(a); TMEP §1402.06. Also, generally, any deleted goods and/or services may not later be reinserted. TMEP §1402.07(e).
Applicant may substitute the following wording, if accurate:
Class 21: mugs; coffee mugs; Moscow mule mugs; cups; beer glasses; beer jugs; beer mugs; coasters, not of paper or textile; drinking glasses; shot glasses; tumblers for use as drinking glasses; drinking straws; beverage stirrers; ice cube molds ; ice cube trays; ice tongs; containers for household use; kitchen containers; insulated containers for food or beverages; bowls; trash cans; pans; bakeware; pots; silicone baking cups; paper baking cups; cake decorating sets sold as a unit comprised primarily of decorating tubes, couplers and tips; cookery molds; cookie cutters; baking mats; dishes; table napkin holders; candle holders; holder for cutting board; pot holders; cocktail shakers; cocktail picks; cocktail glasses; fruit muddlers; swizzle sticks; bottle openers; bottle stoppers specially adapted for use with wine bottles; wine aerators; wine glasses; wine pourers; wine drip collars specially adapted for use around the top of wine bottles to stop drips; cups and mugs; insulating sleeve holder for beverage cups; insulating sleeve holders for beverage cans
Applicant may amend the identification to clarify or limit the goods and/or services, but not to broaden or expand the goods and/or services beyond those in the original application or as acceptably amended. See 37 C.F.R. §2.71(a); TMEP §1402.06. Generally, any deleted goods and/or services may not later be reinserted. See TMEP §1402.07(e).
For assistance with identifying and classifying goods and services in trademark applications, please see the USPTO’s online searchable U.S. Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual. See TMEP §1402.04.
ENTITY CLARIFICATION REQUIREMENT
The names of the general partners in the partnership have not been provided in the application. Therefore, applicant must specify the names, legal entities and national citizenship (for individuals) or the U.S. state or foreign country of organization or incorporation (for businesses) of all general partners. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3)(iii); TMEP §§803.03(b), 803.04.
The following format should be used:
“Rastogi Handicrafts, a partnership organized under the laws of India, composed of _______________ (specify name, legal entity, and citizenship of each individual general partner; and/or name, legal entity, and state or country of incorporation or organization of each juristic general partner).”
MARK DESCRIPTION REQUIREMENT
Applicant must submit an amended description of the mark because the current one is grammatically unclear and does not describe all the significant aspects of the mark. 37 C.F.R. §2.37; see TMEP §§808.01, 808.02. Descriptions must be accurate and identify all the literal and design elements in the mark. See 37 C.F.R. §2.37; TMEP §§808 et seq.
The following description is suggested, if accurate: The mark consists of the stylized wording “RH” in violet color inside a white rectangle with rounded corners having a violet-colored thin line border, behind which is a partially-obscured solid violet rectangle with rounded corners. The remaining white in the mark represents background and/or transparent areas and is not claimed as a feature of the mark.
U.S. COUNSEL REQUIRED
Applicant must be represented by a U.S.-licensed attorney. An applicant whose domicile is located outside of the United States or its territories is foreign-domiciled and must be represented at the USPTO by an attorney who is an active member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a U.S. state or territory. 37 C.F.R. §§2.11(a), 11.14; Requirement of U.S.-Licensed Attorney for Foreign-Domiciled Trademark Applicants & Registrants, Examination Guide 4-19, at I.A. (Rev. Sept. 2019) An individual applicant’s domicile is the place a person resides and intends to be the person’s principal home. 37 C.F.R. §2.2(o); Examination Guide 4-19, at I.A. A juristic entity’s domicile is the principal place of business; i.e., headquarters, where a juristic entity applicant’s senior executives or officers ordinarily direct and control the entity’s activities. 37 C.F.R. §2.2(o); Examination Guide 4-19, at I.A. Because applicant is foreign-domiciled, applicant must appoint such a U.S.-licensed attorney qualified to practice under 37 C.F.R. §11.14 as its representative before the application may proceed to registration. 37 C.F.R. §2.11(a). See Hiring a U.S.-licensed trademark attorney for more information.
To appoint a U.S.-licensed attorney. To appoint an attorney, applicant should submit a completed Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) Revocation, Appointment, and/or Change of Address of Attorney/Domestic Representative form. The newly-appointed attorney must submit a TEAS Response to Examining Attorney Office Action form indicating that an appointment of attorney has been made and address all other refusals or requirements in this action, if any. Alternatively, if applicant retains an attorney before filing the response, the attorney can respond to this Office action by using the appropriate TEAS response form and provide his or her attorney information in the form and sign it as applicant’s attorney. See 37 C.F.R. §2.17(b)(1)(ii).
Please call or email the assigned trademark examining attorney with questions about this Office action. Although the trademark examining attorney cannot provide legal advice or statements about applicant’s rights, the trademark examining attorney can provide applicant with additional explanation about the refusal(s) and/or requirement(s) in this Office action. See TMEP §§705.02, 709.06. Although the USPTO does not accept emails as responses to Office actions, emails can be used for informal communications and will be included in the application record. See 37 C.F.R. §§2.62(c), 2.191; TMEP §§304.01-.02, 709.04-.05.
TEAS PLUS OR TEAS REDUCED FEE (TEAS RF) APPLICANTS – TO MAINTAIN LOWER FEE, ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS MUST BE MET, INCLUDING SUBMITTING DOCUMENTS ONLINE: Applicants who filed their application online using the lower-fee TEAS Plus or TEAS RF application form must (1) file certain documents online using TEAS, including responses to Office actions (see TMEP §§819.02(b), 820.02(b) for a complete list of these documents); (2) maintain a valid e-mail correspondence address; and (3) agree to receive correspondence from the USPTO by e-mail throughout the prosecution of the application. See 37 C.F.R. §§2.22(b), 2.23(b); TMEP §§819, 820. TEAS Plus or TEAS RF applicants who do not meet these requirements must submit an additional processing fee of $125 per class of goods and/or services. 37 C.F.R. §§2.6(a)(1)(v), 2.22(c), 2.23(c); TMEP §§819.04, 820.04. However, in certain situations, TEAS Plus or TEAS RF applicants may respond to an Office action by authorizing an examiner’s amendment by telephone or e-mail without incurring this additional fee.
How to respond. Click to file a response to this nonfinal Office action
Law Office 115, USPTO