The Trademark Trial & Appeal Board (Board) designated as precedential a decision denying a motion to amend and granting partial summary judgment based on a mistaken identification that did not match the goods sold using the trademark. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation v. Win-D-Fender, LLC, Opp. No. 91272326 (TTAB Sept. 22, 2022) (designated precedential Jan. 12, 2023) (Wolfson, Heasley, Cogins, ATJs) (By the Board).
Win-D-Fender applied for a trademark to register the mark EN-D-FENDER for "musical instruments." Fender opposed this registration on grounds of nonuse, likelihood of confusion and dilution by blurring and filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground of nonuse. Win-D-Fender then filed a motion to amend the identification of goods in its application from "musical instruments" to "musical instrument accessories, namely, an ambient wind foot joint guard for flute family instruments."
The Board first considered Win-D-Fender's motion to amend. Under the relevant trademark rules, an application that is subject to an inter partes proceeding may only be amended if the other party consents (Fender did not) and the Board gives approval, or if the Board grants a motion to amend.
Win-D-Fender filed its application via the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). In a TEAS application, only the goods listed in the proper field can be considered for the identification of goods and broadening the scope of the identification is not permitted. In Win-D-Fender's application, the only goods listed in the "Identification" field were "musical instruments." Win-D-Fender argued that its application included a miscellaneous statement reading, "For Musical Instrument Accessories namely a wind guard mounted to a flute." The Board determined, however, that the description was not in the proper field and therefore was not considered in the identified goods. The Board explained that the TEAS Plus instructions warn applicants to not use the TEAS Plus "Identification" field if it does not contain an accurate listing of the goods and services and to instead use the TEAS Standard filing option. The Board noted that although the identification of "musical instruments" may have been a mistake, it is settled that an established identification cannot later be expanded. The Board concluded that Win-D-Fender was limited to amendments that would narrow or clarify the type of "musical instruments."
Win-D-Fender also argued that musical instrument accessories would fall under the general umbrella of musical instruments. The Board stated that while musical instruments may use accessories, the accessories themselves are not musical instruments and are not encompassed in the "musical instrument" class. The Board, therefore, denied the motion to amend the identification of goods.
The Board next considered Fender's motion for summary judgment on the ground of nonuse. An application based on use of the mark in commerce is void if the mark was not used in commerce in connection with the goods identified in the application. As the Board had already decided, Win-D-Fender's mark was limited to musical instruments and did not include accessories. Fender specifically pointed to an interrogatory response in which Win-D-Fender stated that the products sold under the mark were not musical instruments but accessories for a flute. Because the Board had already decided that the mark did not include accessories and because there was no evidence of use on musical instruments, the Board granted partial summary judgment on the ground of nonuse.
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