August 25, 2016

Does One Life Matter?

No. At least not according to a recent decision rendered earlier this month by three judge panel at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

The Applicant, Tres Vidas Organic, Inc., sought to register the following mark for tequila and tequila infused with vitamins:


The English translation of "TRES VIDAS" is three lives.

Unfortunately for the Applicant, another company was already selling tequila under the mark DOS VIDAS (which translates as two lives) and had obtained a federal trademark registration for the use of its mark.


The Trademark Examining Attorney refused registration of TRES VIDAS on the grounds it was confusingly similar to the previously registered mark DOS VIDAS.

The Applicant appealed and earlier this month the TTAB affirmed the refusal to register. Although TRES VIDAS is indeed just one more life than DOS VIDAS, the TTAB found that the goods (tequila) are legally identical and would travel through the same channels of trade to some of the same consumers, and that the marks, when viewed in their entireties, are also similar in sight, sound, connotation and commercial impression â such that there would be a likelihood of confusion in the minds of the consuming public.

The Applicant argued that its mark had another, more mystical meaning. It argued that its TRES VIDAS mark would be understood as referring to the Mesoamerican religious and cultural concept of three worlds where the tree acts as a symbol of life. The Applicant even submitted Wikipedia evidence which included an entry for "Mesoamerican religion" which stated, "The importance of time is seen in the cycles of life, death and regeneration, which are something worshipped in almost everything existing." The TTAB would have none of it. Noting that the Applicant failed to introduce any evidence that even begin to suggest typical tequila consumers are aware of Mesoamerican theology, the TTAB found that it is likely that consumers would expect TRES VIDAS to be merely another line of tequila made by DOS VIDAS.

As an aside, vitamins in tequilla? Really? What, is that supposed to make it a health drink or something? Perhaps it's just a proactive approach to combat a hangover?

Regardless, to learn more about this decision, check it out here: In re Tres Vidas Organic, Inc., Serial No. 86609789