The USPTO refused registration of the proposed mark HIFI, in standard character and stylized form, for "Branding services, namely, consulting, development, brand strategic positioning, management and marketing of brands for businesses and/or individuals" and for "Branding design services, namely, graphic design services for creating graphic elements of corporate logos," in view of the registered mark HIGH FIDELITY & Design for "Advertising, marketing and publicity services." The Board found the services to be overlapping, but what about the marks? How do you think this appeal came out? In re HIFI Brands, LLC, Serial Nos. 88905094 and 88905116 (September 9, 2022) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Melanye K. Johnson).

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Applicant argued that the mark HIFI has a different meaning than HIGH FIDELITY, and that HIFI is not an abbreviation for "high fidelity." The evidence submitted by Examining Attorney Candace W. Hays showed otherwise.

The Board observed that, although the marks differ in sound and appearance, the "propensity of consumers to shorten marks" makes the marks more similar than dissimilar. As a result, "the marks would be remembered by consumers as 'hifi.'"

There was no evidence that HIFI and the cited mark have different meanings when used in connection with the involved services, and it found the overall impressions of the involved marks to be similar.

As to applicant's stylized mark, the degree of stylization "is not notable apart from the literal element "hifi," and does not serve to distinguish it from Registrant's Mark." The Board concluded that the similarities of the two stylized marks as to meaning and overall commercial impression outweigh any dissimilarities.

And so, the Board affirmed the refusal to register.

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