Tag Archives | trademark strength

Weak Marks Leave Only Stylistic Elements Protected: DIY Auto Edition

It is usually not good when the trademark office considers the whole text of your mark to be generic, as the registration for DIY AUTO REPAIR SHOPS demonstrates below. When you want to use a generic element in your mark to describe the goods or services offered, it is usually better to combine that with a unique text element so you have something protectable, to which your reputation can attach.

DIY AUTO, LLC applied to register the DIY AUTO and design, shown below, for the services of providing a website featuring information about automotive maintenance and repair service.

The Examining Attorney refused registration based on DIY AUTO REPAIR SHOPS and design, shown below, registered for the services of a do-it-yourself vehicle repair shop.

 

The Trademark Trial and Appeals

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Use Your Trademark Consistently or It Will Be Weak: WD-40 in the Crosshair

Most damaging to Sorensen’s argument regarding this factor is his inconsistent use of the crosshair [trade]mark. – Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sorensen_v_WD-40_CrosshairIn 1997, Jeffery Sorensen founded a company and began selling rust preventive products under the trademark THE INHIBITOR. Sorensen claimed trademark rights in THE INHIBITOR mark and common law trademark rights in the Sorensen Crosshair provided on some of his products, shown to the right.

In 2011, the WD-40 Company, began selling WD-40 Specialist Long-Term Corrosion Inhibitor for a similar purpose. The WD-40 product contained the same volatile corrosion inhibitor as Sorensen’s product.

Sorensen sued WD-40 for infringing THE INHIBITOR and crosshair trademarks in the case of Sorensen v. WD-40 Company, No. 14-3067 (7th Cir. June 11, 2015). But he lost on all counts.

While its not …

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