Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Silly Company! TRIX are for . . . chips?

At least that is the position that General Mills IP Holdings II, LLC, the intellectual property holding company for General Mills which owns numerous trademark registrations for the mark TRIX, is taking in an opposition filed with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

On January 13, 2009, General Mills filed an opposition against the pending intent-to-use application filed by Productos Alimenticios Bocadeli S.A. de C.V. (“PAB”) for the mark QUESITRIX for “vegetable chips” (in class 29) and “grain-based chips” (in Class 30). See General Mills IP Holdings II, LLC v. Productos Alimenticios Bocadeli S.A. de C.V., Opposition No. 91188373 (T.T.A.B. Filed January 13, 2009). A copy of the Opposition can be downloaded here.

At first, it may seem like General Mills is overreaching a bit in attempting to oppose PAB’s registration application for QUESITRIX for chips when General Mills’ mark is TRIX for cereal related product.

However, if you look at General Mills’ actual opposition filing, you learn that, according to General Mills, PAB may be using packaging outside of the United States which depicts the words “QUESI” and “TRIX” on separate lines, with the word “TRIX” in a larger font than the word “QUESI.” General Mills believes that PAB intends to use similar type of packaging for its products in the United States.

A small little fact like that can make all the difference in changing the image of what at first looks like an abusive corporation overreaching in the scope of its trademark rights to the image of a company just trying to prevent the very likely possibility of consumer confusion in the marketplace given the fame of the “TRIX” brand and PAB’s likely use of its mark in commerce.

Then again, below is a picture of goods produce by PAB. If you look closely at the top row, second bag from the right, you can see the “infringing” packaging. You be the judge.

No comments: