Legal Question in Intellectual Property in California


When trademarking a name, can someone use part of that name and trademark it. For example, if I trademark the name ''Darn Cute Cat Collars'', can someone trademark ''Darn Cute''? Thank you very much.

Asked on 5/11/09, 5:55 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Richard Jefferson M.E.T.A.L. LAW GROUP, LLP

Re: Trademark

The short answer is, No. The standard for whether a trademark infringes on another mark is "likelihood of confusion". Since it is likely that Darn Cute would be seen as confusingly similar to Darn Cute Cat Collars (since the first two words are the same) then the United States Patent & Trademark Office would deny the Darn Cute application.

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Answered on 5/11/09, 6:05 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Trademark

I agree that the USPTO would probably reject "Darn Cute," and that likelihood of confusion is a reason for rejecting a trademark. However, I think the rejection of "Darn Cute" would be on other grounds, perhaps because it is too generic. Likelihood of confusion determinations look not only at the name, but also the product. For example, I believe one could trademark "Amazonia Violet" as a red wine from Brazil even though someone else had registered the same name for a plant variety. On the other hand, everyday expressions are often rejected on the ground that they lack sufficient distinctiveness to be trademarked.

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Answered on 5/11/09, 7:04 pm

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