Examples of Likelihood of Confusion

Likelihood of Confusion is covered in the TMEP (Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure) manual at Chapter 1207.

Conflicting Marks

Case reference

SUPER CHIRO TEA for "herbal teas for medicinal purposes" so resembled opposer's previously used mark CHIROKLENZ for a detoxifying herbal tea, as to be likely to cause confusion among purchasers.

The Board found that applicant took "affirmative steps to cause confusion and to associate SUPER CHIRO TEA with CHIRO-KLENZ tea." These affirmative steps included using the URL www.chiroklenzforless.com and using confusingly similar trade dress.

Edom Laboratories, Inc. V. Lichter (TTAB 2012)

L'OREAL PARIS for "aloe vera drinks" so resembles opposer's previously used and/or registered L'OREAL and L'OREAL PARIS marks for a full range of cosmetics, skin care, and hair care products, some that include aloe vera as an ingredient, as well as for a variety of services, as to be likely to cause confusion.


 GULPY, when used in connection with "portable animal water dishes and animal water containers sold empty" does not so resemble BIG GULP, GULP, or any of opposer's other "Gulp" marks as to be likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive.

7-Eleven v. Wechsler, (TTAB 2007)

OIL ZONE and WASH ZONE (junior marks) for oil change and car wash services are sufficiently similar to (senior user) AUTOZONE mark for retail auto parts sales:

  • All marks have two words, with “Zone” as second word;
  • Words in marks are in same font and are slanted in same direction;
  • First letter of both words is larger than other letters in all marks;
  • All marks feature bar designs that suggest movement or speed.

Marks must be viewed in their entireties, and despite certain dissimilarities, prominent similarities between marks may lead consumers to believe that OIL ZONE and WASH ZONE were extensions of AUTO ZONE.

AutoZone Inc. v. Strick, 88 USPQ2d 1225 (7th Cir. 2008)

“Girl Design” senior mark for U.S. parboiled rice sold in Saudi Arabia was infringed by “Girl with a Hat Design” used on bags of U.S. parboiled rice sold in Saudi Arabia, even though senior user’s design depicts visibly Asian girl, whereas junior user’s design incorporates scarf or hat on girl's head, since marks both depict young women with similar hair, dress, and features, posed behind rectangular shape, holding bowl of rice, and utilize same red, yellow, and black color scheme.

Findings: the Lanham Act requirements were met such that ARI's Girl Design was protectable because the image of a girl icon being used to sell rice is not intrinsic to rice as a product

American Rice Inc. v. Producers Rice Mill Inc., 86 USPQ2d 1162 (5th Cir. 2008).

In assessing likelihood of confusion marks at issue, marks must be compared in their entireties. CHI PLUS mark for electric massage apparatus is likely to cause consumer confusion with CHI design mark for legally identical goods, since word “Chi” is integral component of parties' marks, and addition of word “plus” to mark already established and in use for electric therapeutic massagers is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception. In this case, other differences between parties' marks are unlikely to prevent confusion.

China Healthways Institute Inc. v. Xiaoming Wang, 83 USPQ2d 1123 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

Goods or Services Need Not Be Identical: ON-LINE TODAY for Internet connection services held likely to be confused with ONLINE TODAY for Internet content

On-line Careline Inc. v. America Online Inc., 229 F.3d 1080, 56 USPQ2d 1471 (Fed. Cir. 2000)

Goods or Services Need Not Be Identical: MARTIN’S for wheat bran and honey bread held likely to be confused with MARTIN’S for cheese

In re Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc., 748 F.2d 1565, 223 USPQ 1289 (Fed. Cir. 1984)

Goods or Services Need Not Be Identical: ENYCE for custom automotive accessories held likely to be confused with ENYCE for various clothing items and accessories directed to the urban lifestyle market

L.C. Licensing, Inc. v. Berman, 86 USPQ2d 1883 (TTAB 2008)

Goods or Services Need Not Be Identical: CONFIRM for a buffered solution equilibrated to yield predetermined dissolved gas values in a blood gas analyzer held likely to be confused with CONFIRMCELLS for diagnostic blood reagents for laboratory use

In re Corning Glass Works, 229 USPQ 65 (TTAB 1985)

Goods or Services Need Not Be Identical: LAREDO for land vehicles and structural parts therefor held likely to be confused with LAREDO for pneumatic tires

In re Jeep Corp., 222 USPQ 333 (TTAB 1984)

Marks may be confusingly similar in appearance despite the addition, deletion, or substitution of letters or words: TMM held confusingly similar to TMS, both for systems software

Weiss Associates Inc. v. HRL Associates, Inc., 902 F.2d 1546, 14 USPQ2d 1840 (Fed. Cir. 1990)

 Similarity in Sound – Phonetic Equivalents: Acknowledging that “there is no correct pronunciation of a trademark” and finding ISHINE (stylized) likely to be confused with ICE SHINE, both for floor-finishing preparations

Centraz Industries Inc. v. Spartan Chemical Co. Inc., 77 USPQ2d 1698, 1701 (TTAB 2006)

Similarity in Sound – Phonetic Equivalents: SEYCOS and design for watches held likely to be confused with SEIKO for watches and clocks

Kabushiki Kaisha Hattori Tokeiten v. Scuotto, 228 USPQ 461 (TTAB 1985)

 Similarity in Sound – Phonetic Equivalents: CAYNA (stylized) for soft drinks held likely to be confused with CANA for, inter alia, canned and frozen fruit and vegetable juices

In re Great Lakes Canning, Inc., 227 USPQ 483 (TTAB 1985)

Similarity in Sound – Phonetic Equivalents: ENTELEC and design for association services in the telecommunication and energy industries held likely to be confused with INTELECT for conducting expositions for the electrical industry

In re Energy Telecommunications & Electrical Ass’n, 222 USPQ 350 (TTAB 1983)

Similarity in Sound – Phonetic Equivalents: CRESCO and design for leather jackets held likely to be confused with KRESSCO for hosiery

In re Cresco Mfg. Co., 138 USPQ 401 (TTAB 1963)

Similarity in Meaning: CITY WOMAN held likely to be confused with CITY GIRL, both for clothing

In re M. Serman & Co., Inc., 223 USPQ 52 (TTAB 1984)

Similarity in Meaning:  GAS CITY (“GAS” disclaimed) held likely to be confused with GASTOWN, both for gasoline

Gastown Inc., of Delaware v. Gas City, Ltd., 187 USPQ 760 (TTAB 1975)

Similarity in Meaning: AQUA-CARE (stylized) held likely to be confused with WATERCARE (stylized), both for water-conditioning products

Watercare Corp. v. Midwesco-Enterprise, Inc., 171 USPQ 696 (TTAB 1971)

LAPP and LAPP CABLE identical for all practical purposes (Interpace Corp. v. Lapp, Inc., 721 F. 2d 460 (3rd Cir. 1983))

 Similarity between the marks SIDE DISH and BANQUET SIDE DISH FOR ONE is obvious (Tree Tavern Products, Inc. v. Conagra, Inc., 640 F.Supp. 1263, 1270 (D.Del.1986))

Where dominant portions of two marks, COUNTRY FLOORS and COUNTRY TILES are the same, confusion is likely(Country Floors, Inc. v. Gepner, 930 F.2d 1056 (3d Cir.1991) )

As cited in Fisons Horticulture, Inc. v. Vigoro Industries, Inc., 30 F. 3d 466 - (3rd Cir. 1994)

Are you searching to see if a trademark is safe to use or register? Have you received a refusal for Likelihood of Confusion?

Call us at 1-651-500-7590. We May Be Able to Help. If you have other Marks that you are thinking of registering–CALL US FIRST. Many potential trademark owners may have marks that may be registerable under some conditions and not under others. Guessing wrong can be costly.  


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