31 January, 2023 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

Probarán en México modelo canadiense de innovación MITACS

16 diciembre, 2016

16 diciembre, 2016

Fuente: ANTIMIO CRUZ BUSTAMANTE, Reportero de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Revista Mi Patente, [email protected], www.mipatente.com FOTO 1: El programa MITACS...

INTELIGENCIA ARTIFICIAL; HACIA UNA REDEFINICIÓN DEL DERECHO DE AUTOR.

14 enero, 2019

14 enero, 2019

SÍNTESIS: El constante desarrollo tecnológico en la cuarta revolución industrial y la consolidación de la inteligencia artificial, implica muchos cambios...

Superindustria protege Invenciones implementadas por computador para mejorar las señales de video

21 julio, 2016

21 julio, 2016

FUENTE: HENRY ROBERTO PLAZAS F., Jefe de Prensa, Delegatura Propiedad Industrial, Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio. Bogotá, Colombia www.sic.gov.co La Superintendencia de...

MARCAS Y REDES SOCIALES.

27 abril, 2017

27 abril, 2017

Fuente: FERMÍN REYES y RODRIGO VELARDE MIRANDA, Legarreta y Asociados, SC, www.legarreta.com.mx, [email protected], [email protected] Ciudad de México, México. En la...

eWAS, the last innovation in aeronautical navigation field

31 octubre, 2016

31 octubre, 2016

One of the fundamental elements to consider when we’re referring to fly is the weather. Inclement weather are a decisive...

Verizon tendrá que pagar mil millones de dólares a Huawei en patentes

13 junio, 2019

13 junio, 2019

Huawei, el gigante chino, solicitó a la compañía Verizon que le pague mil millones de dólares por haber usado al menos 230 de sus patentes

LA COINCIDENCIA ASOMBROSA

6 mayo, 2016

6 mayo, 2016

FUENTE: Mariano Castillo, [email protected], https://www.facebook.com/mariano.castillo.1232 Conocemos bien la vida de Charles Darwin, está bien documentada. Es uno de los científicos...

LA DIRECTIVA DE LA UE SOBRE SECRETOS COMERCIALES IMPORTANTES CONSECUENCIAS MUNDIALES

14 julio, 2017

14 julio, 2017

(Segunda parte) FUENTE: SANTIAGO NADAL, Lawyer Specialized in IP Law Director-SN Abogados, [email protected], www.snabogados.com, Colegio de Abogados de Barcelona, Barcelona,...

IMPI y BSA refrendan colaboración para incentivar la innovación a través del uso de software legal

28 febrero, 2018

28 febrero, 2018

Pretende que las empresas adopten prácticas de negocios que involucren la gestión de software legal como parte de sus activos...

Alumnos premiados del ITESM extraen oro y plata de basura electrónica, con biotecnología

22 marzo, 2017

22 marzo, 2017

Fuente: ANTIMIO CRUZ BUSTAMANTE, Reportero de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Revista Mi Patente, [email protected], www.mipatente.com Estudiantes del Tecnológico de Monterrey...

Desafía China a Estados Unidos con oleada de patentes en tecnología

13 mayo, 2019

13 mayo, 2019

Estados Unidos ha perdido poco a poco la ventaja que tiene frente a China, según un análisis de las solicitudes de patentes que se han realizado en los últimos años

Selco opina sobre la controversia en los Derechos de Autor y marcas de Julión Álvarez

10 junio, 2016

10 junio, 2016

En entrevista exclusiva para mipantente la Lic. Vanessa Montes de Oca, de SELCO ® experta en propiedad intelectual da su...

Sectores estratégicos – Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor

19 diciembre, 2016

19 diciembre, 2016

Conocer los sectores estratégicos de nuestro país te ayudará a delimitar en qué Estado de la República puede funcionar mejor...

Universidad de Chapingo pone a disposición de agricultores patentes e innovaciones científicas

17 junio, 2019

17 junio, 2019

Se busca que al compartir las patentes los agricultores puedan tener un mayor rendimiento en algunos alimentos básicos

Important EU-wide and Worldwide Consequences: The EU Directive on Trade Secrets

9 marzo, 2018

9 marzo, 2018

By Santiago Nadal SANTIAGO NADAL, Lawyer Specialized in IP Law Director-SN Abogados, [email protected], www.snabogados.com, Barcelona, Spain. The new directive makes...