Similarity of the marks/commercial impression: Citing the Federal Circuit’s decision in Century 21 Real Estate Corp. v. Century Life of Am., 970 F.2d 874, 877 (Fed. Cir. 1992), the Board noted, “When trademarks would appear on virtually identical goods, as is the case here, ‘the degree of similarity necessary to support a conclusion of likely confusion declines.’” Applicant acknowledged that “the parties’ marks are visually similar because they both contain the vowels and letters IELA/IELLA in the same order and combination.” However, it insisted that that marks are “different in appearance” because (1) its mark begins and ends with the letter “S,” while Registrant’s mark begins with the letter “C” and ends with the letter “A,” (2) its mark includes an apostrophe, and (3) the overlap of the letters “IEL” does not render the marks sufficiently visually similar. The Board rejected Applicant’s arguments, finding that these differences “do little to distinguish the marks’ appearance,” and concluding that marks are visually similar.
As to connotation and resulting commercial impression, Applicant argued that its mark SIELLA’S refers to “the daughter of Applicant’s owner whose name is Siella,” while Registrant’s mark CIELA is similar to the Spanish word “cielo” and thus refers to “sky.” It contended that CIELA thus “provoke[s] consumers to associate the registered mark with ‘cielo’ and the beauty and purety [sic] of [Montana] the Big Sky State,” where Registrant is located. The Board pointed to evidence in the record that “Siella” is an alternate spelling for the given name “Ciela,” and that the name means “heavenly.” The Board also noted that the English translation of “cielo” is “sky” or “heaven.” The Board thus concluded that the marks have similar connotations that create similar commercial impressions.
Conclusion: Weighing the Du Pont factors, the Board concluded that confusion between the parties’ marks is likely.
And so the Board affirmed the refusal to register.
Read comments and post your comment here.
TTABlog comment: Is this a WYHA?
Text Copyright Stephanie Stella 2019.