TTAB Sustains Opposition To “POLITICAL TINDER,” Citing “TINDER” – Intellectual Property | #tinder | #pof


To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has sustained an Opposition
to registration of the proposed mark POLITICAL TINDER, finding that
a likelihood of confusion existed between that and registered marks
for TINDER. Match Group, LLC v. RLP Ventures, LLC, Opp.
No. 91230917 (TTAB, Nov. 25, 2020).

RLP Ventures had sought to register the proposed mark POLITICAL
TINDER for use in connection with, inter alia, advertising and
marketing services provided by means of indirect methods of
marketing communications, namely, social media, search engine
marketing, inquiry marketing, internet marketing, mobile marketing,
blogging and other forms of passive, sharable or viral
communications channels; providing an internet website featuring
news and information in the field of national and international
politics; providing information regarding political issues, knowing
how to vote and knowing how to register to vote; news reporter
services in the nature of news analysis and news commentary; and
providing news in the nature of current event reporting relating to
politics via the Internet.

Match opposed registration of the proposed mark, citing its four
registered TINDER marks, for use in connection with, inter alia,
hosting computer software applications for others; downloadable
software in the nature of a mobile application for internet-based
dating and matchmaking; downloadable software in the nature of a
mobile application in the field of social media; and internet-based
social networking, introduction and dating services.

Match argued a likelihood of confusion between the proposed mark
POLITICAL TINDER and, inter alia, its registered TINDER mark for a
“social media mobile phone app that is a highly interactive
platform through which users can create, share, and read short
profiles and communicate online.” Match also asserted claims
based on trademark dilution and no bona fide use by RLP Ventures
when it filed its use-based application.

The Board sustained Match’s opposition on the basis of
likelihood of confusion, finding that all relevant DuPont
factors[1]
weighed in Match’s favor.

To begin, on the question of similarity of the marks, the Board
noted that Match’s registered TINDER mark and RLP Ventures’
proposed mark POLITICAL TINDER were comprised, in whole or in part,
of the arbitrary term TINDER and that Match’s registered mark
was encompassed within the proposed mark.  “”[I]n
such cases, confusing similarity has often been found.”
(citing cases). The Board also found that TINDER was the dominant
term in the proposed mark because TINDER was a merely descriptive
term which has been disclaimed. As a result, because of the shared
term TINDER, dominant in RLP Ventures’ proposed mark, the Board
held that the marks, when viewed in their entireties, were similar
in sound, appearance, meaning and commercial impression.

On similarity of goods and services, the Board compared
Match’s identification of goods, including “downloadable
software in the nature of a mobile application in the field of
social media, namely, for sending status updates to subscribers of
web feeds, uploading and downloading electronic files to share with
others,” with RLP Ventures’ “providing information
about political elections” and “providing information and
news in the field of current events relating to politics.”

The Board rejected RLP Ventures’ argument that Match’s
goods and services related to dating products, saying that it could
not read limitations into an identification of goods or services.
Per the Board, “We [ ] must read Opposer’s identified
downloadable software for…uploading and downloading electronic
files to share with others as encompassing content that is
political in nature.”

The Board also cited evidence that politicians had used
Match’s goods and services to discuss and promote political
candidates. The Board found that Match’s goods included
downloadable software for, inter alia, sending status updates of
web feeds pertaining to political figures, and
uploading/downloading files pertaining to political figures, for
sharing. Thus, per the Board, RLP Ventures’ “providing
information about political elections” and “providing
information and news in the field of current events relating to
politics” were related to Match’s downloadable
software.

On channels of trade, the Board found that the involved goods
and services were directed to members of the general public.
Accordingly, purchasers and trade channels were overlapping.

On strength of mark, the Board noted that Match’s standard
character TINDER mark was registered without a showing of acquired
distinctiveness, and thus was presumed to be inherently
distinctive. The Board also reiterated that “TINDER” was
arbitrary as pertaining to Match’s goods.

The Board also cited evidence from Match concerning the
commercial strength of its TINDER mark, including global revenues
and major media coverage for the app. The Board discounted
third-party registrations including the term TINDER, saying it
could not locate evidence of same in RLP Ventures’
submissions.

Given the evidence, the Board found that Match’s TINDER mark
for its dating app “falls on the stronger side of the spectrum
from very strong to very weak.” Per the Board, Match had
established that its mark “is entitled to a broader scope of
protection than is normally accorded to a distinctive mark with
less recognition, but not that its mark is a famous mark.”
Accordingly, this DuPont factor weighed
“slightly” in favor of a finding of likelihood of
confusion.

On conditions of sale and respective purchasers, the Board found
that the parties’ respective goods and services may be
purchased (or used) on impulse, favoring a finding of likelihood of
confusion.

The Board concluded, finding that RLP Ventures’ proposed
mark POLITICAL TINDER was likely to cause confusion with
Match’s registered mark TINDER for its “downloadable
software in the nature of a mobile application in the field of
social media, namely, for sending status updates to subscribers of
web feeds, uploading and downloading electronic files to share with
others.”

Because the Board found for Match on its likelihood of confusion
claim, the Board did not reach the merits of Match’s other
claims. The Board sustained Match’s opposition on the ground of
likelihood of confusion, refusing registration to RLP Ventures.

Footnote

1
          In re E.
I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.
, 476 F.2d 1357, 177 USPQ 563,
567 (CCPA 1973).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.


Source link

.  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .   .   .    .    .   .   .   .   .   .  .   .   .   .  .  .   .  .


_________________________