The USPTO refused registration of the mark ICY (stylized) on the ground of likelihood of confusion with the registered mark ICEE, for overlapping clothing items (sweatshirts). So it all boiled down to the marks. Applicant American Branding failed to show that the cited mark is weak, either inherently or conceptually. However, it further maintained that the marks engender different commercial impressions. How do you think this came out? In re American Branding Agency, Corporation, Serial No. 88683570 (September 29, 2021) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Robert H. Coggins).

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The Board found that the cited mark ICEE "likely has a meaning approximating 'resembling or suggestive of ice or something intensely cold.'" [BTW: see registrant's website here) - ed.]. As to the commercial impression of applicant's mark, evidence of third-party registrations and ornamental uses of ICY on clothing "suggest[] that ICY may have a different commercial impression than ICEE when applied to clothing." 

The Board took judicial notice that "ice" is a slang term for "diamonds" and broadly means "jewelry." It therefore found that ICY "may connote someone covered with diamonds and jewelry: a lot of bling. Indeed, many of the third-party ornamental uses of ICY give this impression."

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The stylization of Applicant's mark creates a similar commercial impression of ICY. As can be seen from the display of the mark at right, Applicant's special form drawing displays a stylization of ICY in faceted letters resembling baguette cut diamonds. While the cited mark ICEE may convey a meaning of resembling literal ice or something intensely cold, the commercial impression of Applicant's stylized ICY mark is atmospheric bling or swag glamour. We therefore find Applicant's mark suggests a meaning in a way that the cited mark does not.

In sum, the Board concluded that the marks impart different overall commercial impressions, and so it reversed the refusal to register.

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