TMEP 1207.01(a): Relatedness of the Goods or Services

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1207.01(a)    Relatedness of the Goods or Services

In assessing the relatedness of the goods and/or services, the more similar the marks at issue, the less similar the goods or services need to be to support a finding of likelihood of confusion. In re Shell Oil Co., 992 F.2d 1204, 1207, 26 USPQ2d 1687, 1689 (Fed. Cir. 1993); Gen. Mills, Inc. v. Fage Dairy Processing Indus. S.A., 100 USPQ2d 1584, 1597 (TTAB 2011); In re Iolo Techs., LLC, 95 USPQ2d 1498, 1499 (TTAB 2010); In re Opus One Inc., 60 USPQ2d 1812, 1815 (TTAB 2001). If the marks of the respective parties are identical or virtually identical, the relationship between the goods and/or services need not be as close to support a finding of likelihood of confusion as would be required if there were differences between the marks. Shell Oil, 992 F.2d at 1207, 26 USPQ2d at 1689; In re Davey Prods. Pty Ltd., 92 USPQ2d 1198, 1202 (TTAB 2009); In re Thor Tech, Inc., 90 USPQ2d 1634, 1636 (TTAB 2009).

In some instances, because of established marketing practices, the use of identical marks on seemingly unrelated goods and services could result in a likelihood of confusion. See In re Sloppy Joe’s Int’l, Inc., 43 USPQ2d 1350, 1356 (TTAB 1997) (“[T]he licensing of the names and/or likenesses of well known persons for use on various goods and services is a common practice.”); In re Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., 228 USPQ 949, 951 (TTAB 1986) (“The licensing of commercial trademarks for use on ‘collateral’ products (such as clothing, glassware, linens, etc.), that are unrelated in nature to those goods or services on which the marks are normally used, has become a common practice in recent years.”).