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Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Appeal for CARL’S BAR Denied

By Eric Misterovich

A small town Kansas restaurant, which filed a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board appeal in an attempt to register the name “Carl’s Bar,” has been denied by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), who ruled it would likely to be confused with and negatively impact fast-food chain, Carl’s Jr.’s trademark. Carl’s Jr. Restaurants LLC initiated the opposition to the Carl’s Bar registration.

The TTAB determined that the similarities between the names and their services were sufficient to warrant concern that the average consumer would be confused by it. While there are more than 1200 Carl’s Jr. restaurants in the United States, Carl’s Bar & Delicatessen is a single entity in Kansas. According to the TTAB this discrepancy doesn’t lessen the likelihood of confusion between the marks.

In making its determination, the TTAB focused on the similarity of the restaurants marks and also the similarity of the services being provided. The TTAB ruled that given that both first words are “Carl’s” and that they are both in possessive form makes them very similar. Moreover, the services each name provides are alike as some Carl’s Jr. restaurants house bars and serve alcoholic beverages.

Finally, the TTAB also takes the fame of the opposer’s mark into account when making an approval determination.  For example, because Carl’s Jr. restaurants sales exceeded $800 million in 2010, and the company spent over $36 million on advertising, the TTAB was convinced that Carl’s Jr. is established in the area around Carl’s Bar & Delicatessen.

In light of those factors the TTAB granted Carl’s Jr.’s motion and denied registration for “Carl’s Bar.”

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