U.S. Trademark Trial & Appeal Board Refuses Registration of VIDEO POD Trademark for Video Projectors

The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) sustained Apple, Inc.’s opposition to an applicant’s attempt to register a federal trademark the mark VIDEO POD for “video projectors using an optical means to reproduce moving picture signals on a remote surface, for business and entertainment purposes” in International Class 9. Apple, Inc. v. Sector Labs, LLC, Opposition No. 91176027 (TTAB Mar. 19, 2012).

Among other things, the TTAB found that VIDEO POD was merely descriptive and had not acquired distinctiveness. In addition, the TTAB determined that Apple’s IPOD trademark is famous in the United States, and that the VIDEO POD mark is similar to IPOD. The TTAB further found that, although, at the relevant time, Apple did not offer video products under its IPOD mark,

… the goodwill established by Apple in the area of music players would carry over into the area of video projectors. That is, the reasonably prudent consumers familiar with [Apple]’s IPOD device in February 2003 – had they seen an electronic video device being sold under VIDEO POD – would have confused its source.

Therefore, the goods identified in the applicant’s “Video Pod” application were “highly related” to the goods offered by Apple and its licensees under the IPOD mark. After considering these and other factors, the TTAB held that the proposed use of the VIDEO POD mark on the  applicant’s goods would result in a likelihood of confusion with the IPOD mark.

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