TMEP 1207.01(b)(vii): Transposition of Terms

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1207.01(b)(vii)    Transposition of Terms

Where the primary difference between marks is the transposition of the elements that compose the marks, and where this transposition does not change the overall commercial impression, there may be a likelihood of confusion. See, e.g., In re Wine Soc’y of Am. Inc., 12 USPQ2d 1139, 1142 (TTAB 1989) (holding THE WINE SOCIETY OF AMERICA and design for wine club membership services including the supplying of printed materials, and AMERICAN WINE SOCIETY 1967 and design for newsletters, bulletins, and journals, likely to cause confusion); In re Nationwide Indus., Inc., 6 USPQ2d 1882, 1884 (TTAB 1988) (holding RUST BUSTER (with "RUST" disclaimed) for rust-penetrating spray lubricant, and BUST RUST for penetrating oil, likely to cause confusion); In re Gen. Tire & Rubber Co., 213 USPQ 870, 871 (TTAB 1982) (holding SPRINT STEEL RADIAL (with "STEEL" and "RADIAL" disclaimed) for pneumatic tires, and RADIAL SPRINT (with "RADIAL" disclaimed) for radial tires, likely to cause confusion).

However, if the transposed mark creates a distinctly different commercial impression, then confusion is not likely. See, e.g., In re Best Prods. Co., 231 USPQ 988, 989-90 (TTAB 1986) (holding BEST JEWELRY and design (with "JEWELRY" disclaimed) for retail jewelry store services, and JEWELERS’ BEST for bracelets, not likely to cause confusion).