TMEP 1207.01(a)(ii): Establishing Relatedness of Goods to Services

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

Previous: §1207.01(a)(i) | Next: §1207.01(a)(ii)(A)

1207.01(a)(ii)    Establishing Relatedness of Goods to Services

It is well recognized that confusion may be likely to occur from the use of the same or similar marks for goods, on the one hand, and for services involving those goods, on the other. See, e.g., In re Hyper Shoppes (Ohio), Inc., 837 F.2d 463, 6 USPQ2d 1025 (Fed. Cir. 1988) (holding BIGG’S (stylized) for retail grocery and general merchandise store services and BIGGS and design for furniture likely to cause confusion); In re H.J. Seiler Co., 289 F.2d 674, 129 USPQ 347 (C.C.P.A. 1961) (holding SEILER’s for catering services and SEILER’S for smoked and cured meats likely to cause confusion); In re United Serv. Distribs., Inc., 229 USPQ 237 (TTAB 1986) (holding mark consisting of a design featuring silhouettes of a man and woman used in connection with distributorship services in the field of health and beauty aids and mark consisting of a design featuring silhouettes of a man and woman used in connection with skin cream likely to cause confusion); In re Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., 228 USPQ 949 (TTAB 1986) (holding 21 CLUB for various items of clothing and THE “21” CLUB (stylized) for restaurant services likely to cause confusion); In re U.S. Shoe Corp., 229 USPQ 707 (TTAB 1985) (holding CAREER IMAGE (stylized) for retail women’s clothing store services and CREST CAREER IMAGES (stylized) for uniforms likely to cause confusion); Steelcase Inc. v. Steelcare Inc., 219 USPQ 433 (TTAB 1983) (holding STEELCARE INC. and design for refinishing of furniture, office furniture, and machinery and STEELCASE for office furniture and accessories, likely to cause confusion); Corinthian Broad. Corp. v. Nippon Elec. Co., Ltd., 219 USPQ 733 (TTAB 1983) (holding TVS for transmitters and receivers of still television pictures and TVS for television broadcasting services likely to cause confusion).

When the goods and services in question are well known or otherwise generally recognized as having a common source of origin, the burden of establishing relatedness is easier to satisfy. In re St. Helena Hosp., 774 F.3d 747, 113 USPQ2d 1082 (Fed. Cir. 2014). For example, relatedness would generally be recognized when the services clearly include or encompass the goods in the identification, such as when the services are “brewpubs” and the goods are “beer” or when the services are “electronic transmission of data and documents via computer terminals” and the goods are “facsimile machines, computers, and computer software.” In re Coors Brewing Co., 343 F.3d 1340, 1347, 68 USPQ2d 1059, 1064 (Fed. Cir. 2003); Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Packard Press, Inc., 281 F.3d 1261, 1268, 62 USPQ2d 1001, 1005 (Fed. Cir. 2002).

However, when the relatedness of the goods and services is not evident, well known, or generally recognized, “something more” than the mere fact that the goods and services are used together must be shown. In re St. Helena Hosp., 774 F.3d at 754, 113 USPQ2d at 1087 (finding that substantial evidence did not support relatedness of hospital-based residential weight and lifestyle program and printed materials dealing with physical activity and fitness). Therefore, when comparing services such as “restaurant services” with less apparently related goods such as “beer,” or “cooking classes” with “kitchen towels,” “something more”—beyond the fact that the goods are used in the provision of the services—must be shown to indicate that consumers would understand such services and goods to emanate from the same source. Although the Court in Coors found evidence of “a few registrations” covering both the goods and services at issue insufficient, see In re Coors Brewing Co., 343 F.3d at 1346, 68 USPQ2d at 1063, examples of actual use of a mark for both the goods and services at issue and/or evidence of a large number of third-party registrations covering both the goods and services at issue may suffice. When such evidence is not readily available through searches of electronic resources, examining attorneys should consider issuing an information request under 37 C.F.R. §2.61(b), asking whether the applicant provides both the goods and services at issue and inquiring whether the applicant is aware of others who provide both the goods and services at issue, and if so, requesting additional information about them.