2 October, 2022 Revista Digital sobre Patentes, Marcas y Propiedad Intelectual

Although will.i.am. “Scream and Shout”, the Trademark Office won´t register “I AM”

Synopsis: This article will approach the decision of the Federal Circuit, where the Court affirmed the TTAB refusal of the “I AM” trademark registration.

This is “THE E.N.D”. This month, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) decision issued in 2015 where the TTAB, in a precedential decision, refused the registration of three trademark applications for I AM from i.am.symbolic, llc., for cosmetic and personal products in class 3, for sunglasses and sunglass cases in class 9, and for jewelry, watches, and other goods, including rubber wristbands in the nature of bracelets in class 14.

The TTAB decision was particularly interesting because it involved several Intellectual Property issues; including right of publicity, famous marks and a different perspective from the TTAB of confusion rejections for trademarks.

The applicant of the I AM marks is a company owned by pop star William Adams, an American musician known by his stage name “will.i.am” as the front man of the music group The Black Eyed Peas.

In the cases decided by the board, it concluded that I AM was confusingly similar to the registered marks I AM for perfume in class 3 owned by Danica Siegel, I AM and design for sunglasses and sunglass cases in class 9, I AM and design for jewelry and fashion jewelry, bracelets, watches, and other goods in class 14, both owned by Beeline GmbH, and I AM for silicone stretchable wrist band in the nature of a bracelet in class 14 owned by Justin Finch.

In the description of the goods protected by the I AM marks, the applicant included the language “all associated with William Adams, professionally known as ‘will.i.am.’” Therefore, before the board, the applicant contended that there was no likelihood of confusion between the I AM marks and the cited marks because its marks identified the pop star “will.i.am”; applicant’s goods were exclusively associated with “will.i.am”; the goods protected by the conflicting marks were marketed differently; and the cited marks were not famous.

The main reason the board refused the registration of the I AM marks was because the language included in the product’s description did not limit applicant’s goods in any fashion with respect to either the trade channels or class of purchasers because the board held it was “precatory” language and not binding consumers when they encountered applicant’s marks. In other words, the mentioned language did not represent that “will.i.am” was identified in the promotion of the goods because the applicant was trying to register the mark I AM, not WILL.I.AM.

 

In this regard, the board noticed that in three different trademark registration for WILL.I.AM in classes 9, 41 and 25 owned by Mr. Adams and subsequently transferred to i.am.symbolic llc., the registration included ,a statement that “[t]he name shown in the mark identifies a living individual whose consent to register is of record”, while in the I AM applications such statement was not included. Notwithstanding the above, the board held that even when the applications had included the statement, the statue still protects the senior user from “reverse confusion” of a newcomer.

Moreover, as indicated earlier, applicant argued without providing any evidence that the I AM marks were famous, while the cited marks were not. However, the board explained that in an ex parte analysis, in the absence of proofs the fame of the mark factor is treated as neutral. In other words, the board concluded that “to the extent that Mr. Adams and applicant’s mark are well known, such fact supports refusal of applicant’s application because when confusion is likely, it is the prior registrant which must prevail.”

Now, before the Federal Circuit will.i.am asked for “One More Chance” and argued that the Board erred by: 1) characterizing the “will.i.am” limitation sought during prosecution as precatory and therefore omitted from the Board’s DuPont factor analysis; 2) ignoring third-party use and the peaceful coexistence of the primary and supplemental registers; and 3) finding a likelihood of reverse confusion.

Notwithstanding Mr. Adam´s contentions, the Court said “Shut Up” to will.i.am and found that the Board sufficiently supported its reasoning when it applied the DuPont factors.  Regarding the first DuPont factor, the similarity of the marks weighed heavily in favor of confusion because the word marks were identical (both being “I AM”). The analysis considered the applied-for and registered marks, not the “will.i.am” version that Adams argued should have been considered.  Any failure to consider third-party use was harmless, given the strength of the evidence supporting a finding of confusion, such as the use of identical marks. The Court also rejected Adams’ argument that the Board improperly found a likelihood of reverse confusion.  Instead, the Board’s opinion “merely explains that to the extent the Board agreed with [Adams] that [he] or the mark are famous, such a finding would not support registration of the mark.” Now, will.i.am can “Go Home” without a trademark registration for “I AM”.

Arturo Ishbak Gonzalez

Prolongación Paseo de la Reforma #1000, Ciudad de México.

[email protected]

Twitter: @ArturoIshbak

Comparte tu opinión sobre este artículo

Comentarios

Related Posts

Las marcas famosas y el furor del Licenciado Valeriano… ¿pero qué sucedió?

14 junio, 2019

14 junio, 2019

Desde ayer, el Licenciado Valeriano se viralizó en redes sociales por un meme que colocó como su logotipo el de la compañía francesa de lujo Louis Vuitton (LV)

WIPO Elections: Member States get ready to settle on a new Director General

24 febrero, 2020

24 febrero, 2020

WIPO Elections: Member States get ready to settle on a new Director General •Elections for a new WIPO Director General...

¡Felicidades Antimio Cruz Bustamante! excelente artículo

20 septiembre, 2016

20 septiembre, 2016

¡Muchas Felicidades a los periodistas ganadores! 7° Premio de Periodismo sobre Innovación Científica y Tecnológica CATEGORÍA NACIONAL Gerardo Sifuentes, Muy Interesante México...

Crea y patenta Tecnológico de Chihuahua una báscula de control inteligente

6 febrero, 2017

6 febrero, 2017

Fuente: ANTIMIO CRUZ BUSTAMANTE, Reportero de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Profesores e investigadores del área de Posgrado del Instituto Tecnológico de...

Celebra Cinvestav 55 aniversario con 198 patentes listas para transferencia

18 abril, 2016

18 abril, 2016

Por: Antimio Cruz   Fundado en 1961 por un pequeño grupos de once científicos, que laboraban en un edificio prestado,...

Solo 3 % de patentes otorgadas en México son de mexicanos

27 abril, 2016

27 abril, 2016

Por Verenise Sánchez Ciudad de México. 25 de abril de 2016 (Agencia Informativa Conacyt).- Solo tres por ciento de las patentes...

Llega nave a Estación Espacial Internacional; lleva equipo para investigaciones

19 abril, 2019

19 abril, 2019

La nave espacial Cygnus de Northrop Grumman llegó esta mañana a la Estación Espacial Internacional con cerca de 3 mil 500 kilogramos de equipo y carga para investigaciones científicas.

Imprimen un corazón humano en 3D ¡y palpita!

16 abril, 2019

16 abril, 2019

Con el éxito del proyecto, se potencia esta técnica para que en un futuro se puedan personalizar los tejidos y órganos para trasplantes

La ciencia no tiene género: en grandes avances científicos han participado mujeres

19 junio, 2019

19 junio, 2019

El Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares de la UNAM, en conjunto con el Programa Adopte un Talentom, entregaron 18 premios y reconocimientos a ganadores del primer concurso Cuéntanos sobre una científica 2019

Recibe UNAM dos patentes por tecnología para estabilizar satélites

17 agosto, 2018

17 agosto, 2018

Antimio Cruz La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) recibió dos títulos de patente para proteger nueva tecnología que ayuda...

Cemento luminiscente detona patentes en la Universidad Michoacana

23 agosto, 2016

23 agosto, 2016

Fuente: ANTIMIO CRUZ BUSTAMANTE, Reportero de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Revista Mi Patente, [email protected], www.mipatente.com   La creación de un...

Llegaron las gomitas antiestrés, una creación de estudiantes del Tec de Monterrey

5 julio, 2019

5 julio, 2019

Algunas de los principales ingredientes de las gomitas son la pasiflora y la valeriana, que son ampliamente reconocidas por sus efectos relajantes

Se prorroga la convocatoria del 8º Premio de Periodismo sobre Innovación Científica y Tecnológica

16 agosto, 2017

16 agosto, 2017

Comunicado de Prensa IMPI-025 / 2017 Se prorroga la convocatoria del 8º Premio de Periodismo sobre Innovación Científica y Tecnológica...

LA UNIÓN EUROPEA: REGLAMENTO GENERAL DE PROTECCIÓN DE DATOS (RGPD) Y SUS DESAFÍOS (2da. PARTE)

8 agosto, 2018

8 agosto, 2018

Autores: ANDREA ACCUOSTO, CESCOM and IFCA Certified in Corporate Compliance, [email protected]; SANTIAGO NADAL, Lawyer Specialized in IP Law Director, [email protected],...

Desarrolla CICESE tecnología para captar agua de la niebla costera

19 julio, 2017

19 julio, 2017

FUENTE: ANTIMIO CRUZ BUSTAMANTE, Reportero de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Revista Digital Mi Patente, [email protected], www.mipatente.com Científicos mexicanos desarrollan una...