In a brief 10-page opinion, the Board sustained an opposition to the mark PARATI for “alcoholic beverages, except beers; spirits,” finding the mark likely to cause confusion with the registered mark PYRAT for “distilled spirits.” The goods are in part identical, and presumably travel in the same, normal channels of trade to the same classes of consumers. The identifications of goods include inexpensive products bought with ordinary care. But what about the marks? Patron Spirits International AG v. Les Bienheureux, Opposition No. 91223657 (November 29, 2017) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Karen Kuhlke).

Of course, when the goods are identical, a lesser degree of similarity is needed between the marks to support a likelihood of confusion finding.

The Board found the marks to be similar in appearance and sound because they both begin with the the letter P, and the second syllable is RAT with only one letter separating P and RAT. “The difference in the vowel in the first syllable (Y or A) and the addition of the letter I at the end of Applicant’s mark are not sufficient to distinguish the marks.” The Board noted that in cases involving products that are ordered orally at a bar or restaurant, the sound of the marks is of heightened importance.

As to connotation, the Board found that a substantial number of consumers will simply take the marks as they are, without ascribing any meaning to them. Any recognition of the word “pirate” in opposer’s mark will not sufficiently distinguish the marks.

And so the Board found the marks similar in appearance, sound, meaning, and overall commercial impression.

The Board found opposer’s mark PYRAT to be conceptually strong, but there was no evidence to support opposer’s claim that it is commercially strong. Opposer’s allegation that applicant acted in bad faith also failed for lack of proof.

Balancing the relevant du Pont factors, the Board found confusion likely and it sustained the opposition.