Search the Archives           Subscribe           About this News Service           Reader Comments

Archived updates for Friday, January 19, 2007

Door Handles and Lavatories Related Under the Same Marks

In Kohler Co. v. Baldwin Hardware Corp. , Cancellation No. 9204134 (January 11, 2007) where the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board granted a petition for cancellation of a registration for the mark DEVONSHIRE for "metal door hardware, namely, locks, latches and knobs," finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the identical mark previously used in connection with toilets and lavatories.

According to the decision authored by Administrative Trademark Judge Quinn:

With respect to the goods, it is well established that the goods of the parties need not be similar or competitive, or even offered through the same channels of trade, to support a holding of likelihood of confusion. It is sufficient that the respective goods of the parties are related in some manner, and/or that the conditions and activities surrounding the marketing of the goods are such that they would or could be encountered by the same persons under circumstances that could, because of the similarity of the marks, give rise to the mistaken belief that they originate from the same source. See Hilson Research, Inc. v. Society for Human Resource Management, 27 USPQ2d 1423 (TTAB 1993); and In re International Telephone & Telephone Corp., 197 USPQ 910, 911 (TTAB 1978). The issue, of course, is not whether purchasers would confuse the goods, but rather whether there is a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the goods. In re Rexel Inc., 223 USPQ 830 (TTAB

In comparing the goods, we initially note that where identical marks are involved, as is the case here, the degree of similarity between the parties’ goods that is required to support a finding of likelihood of confusion declines. In re Shell Oil Co., 992 F.2d 1204, 26 USPQ2d 1687, 1688-1689 (Fed. Cir. 1993); Time Warner Entertainment
Co. v. Jones, 65 USPQ2d 1650 (TTAB 2002); and In re Opus One Inc., 60 USPQ2d 1812 (TTAB 2001).

In light of the above constraints in making our analysis, we find that petitioner’s toilets and lavatories, when compared with respondent’s “metal door hardware, namely locks, latches and knobs,” are sufficiently related that, when sold under identical marks, there is likely to be confusion among purchasers in the marketplace.

As shown by the record, the goods may be viewed as complementary in that they may be used together; that is to say, some consumers, when buying a line of products for their bathroom, want their toilet, sink, shower door, bathroom door and cabinet fixtures to all match or at least be coordinated. Mr. Chandler testified that it is “very common” in the industry for entities (e.g., American Standard, Eljer and Crane, among others) to market multiple bathroom products as a “suite” under a single mark. (Chandler dep., p. 21). These products arecoordinated in that they have similar design aesthetics, providing consumers with an “easy solution.” (Chandler dep., pp. 16-18). The record shows that petitioner itself offers a “suite” under the mark DEVONSHIRE; the “suite” encompasses toilets and lavatories, as well as shower doors, faucets, and bath accessories. Although respondent does not sell toilets and lavatories, the record shows that respondent sells its door hardware and various bathroom accessories (e.g., towel bars and soap dishes) under the same marks (although not under DEVONSHIRE). Respondent states, on its website, that “in every room of your home you can be at home with Baldwin’s quality and innovation.” As Peter Dohm, respondent’s director of tubular locks, testified, respondent offers “to take the product through the home.” (Dohm dep., p. 71).

Petitioner has introduced several third-party registrations in its attempt to show that entities have adopted the same mark for the types of goods involved herein, namely toilets, lavatories and door hardware. A close inspection of this evidence reveals, however, that only five of the use-based registrations cover both door
hardware, and toilets and lavatories. Although this evidence is far from overwhelming on this factor, it nevertheless has probative value to the extent that the registrations serve to suggest that toilets and sinks on the one hand, and door hardware on the other, are goods of a type that emanate from the same source. In re Infinity Broadcasting Corp. of Dallas, 60 USPQ2d 1214 (TTAB 2001); and In re Albert Trostel & Sons Co., 29 USPQ2d 1783 (TTAB 1993).

The record establishes that it is not uncommon for consumers to encounter a variety of bathroom products, including toilets, sinks and door hardware for use in the bathroom, emanating from the same source, and even under the same mark. We consequently find that the parties’ goods are related. This factor weighs in favor of petitioner.

    (0)comment(s)     translate     More Updates     Send