The Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal to register the mark
M, in standard character form, for
"mattresses, namely crib mattresses, mattress foundations and
mattress toppers," finding confusion likely with the three
registered marks shown below, for furniture. In re Bedgear LLC, Serial No.
87147150 (January 3, 2020) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge
The Marks: The Board observed that
applicant's standard character mark may be displayed in the
same font style as any of the registered marks. Trademark Rule
2.52(a), 37 CFR 2.52(a) (mark composed of "words, letters,
numbers, or any combination thereof" may be used in "any
particular font style, size, or color"). Since the only
literal element in each of the cited marks is the letter
"M," those marks are considered to be legally identical
to applicant's mark.
Applicant argued that the letter "M" is inherently weak and vague, but it provided no evidence "that would show that the letter 'M' has a descriptive or generic connotation for the goods identified in the registrations, or that it is commercially diluted." Applicant also argued that the cited marks "have coexisted together in the marketplace for a considerable time," but it provided no evidence of marketplace use of the cited marks, nor evidence of any other use of "M" marks.
The Board noted that 11 registrations were initially cited against the subject application, but the marks of those registrations were various stylized versions of the letter M. A single registration for M CUSHION, in standard characters, for cushions and pillows was distinguishable because of the word CUSHION.
Moreover, none of the cited registrations are for mattresses, and those that cover arguably related goods such as cushions and pillows are (again with the exception of M CUSHION) owned by universities and a candy company, which sell such items as ancillary merchandise. [no explanation as to why this latter point was significant - ed.].
The goods: The Board took judicial notice that
Webster's dictionary defines "furniture" as
"movable articles used in readying an area (such as a room or
patio) for occupancy or use," which encompasses mattresses.
The Board agreed with Examining Attorney Aretha C. Somerville that
"the evidence shows that to the extent mattresses, box
springs, foundations for beds and platform beds may all be
considered 'furniture,' that Applicant's crib
mattresses and mattress foundations are related to Registrants'
Conclusion: Applicant's mark is essentially identical to registrants' marks and therefore "it is necessary only that there be a viable relationship between the goods to support a finding of likelihood of confusion." Applicant's mattresses and mattress foundations are encompassed by the broad description of "furniture" in the cited registrations, making them legally identical.
The Board therefore found confusion likely and it affirmed the refusal to register.
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