Edmond, OK asked in Intellectual Property and Trademark for Oklahoma

Q: A cork maker owns their trademark in wine, but not for household goods, which I want for a corkscrew. Can I trademark?

They mostly do chemical processes and do NOT own the trademark in household goods, but I'm assuming perhaps they make corks for wine bottles.

I thought I'd be safe trademarking in a class they don't have a trademark in, but since their product is literally cork and I'm selling a corkscrew I'm afraid the difference in class might not matter. Since their customers are mostly industrial/B2B and mine are mostly consumers or retailers I'm thinking maybe there's an argument that the two wouldn't be confused by the relevant target customers, but I'm not sure.

If I use their same name for my special corkscrew that I want to sell would I be A) safe to register the trademark in the unclaimed household goods class and B) once trademarked what is the likelihood this company could sue AND WIN for trademark infringement if my corkscrew got their attention? Thanks for any help.

1 Lawyer Answer
Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Dallas, TX

A: There is really not a clear answer here. It is possible the other trademark owner may oppose your trademark registration or sue you for trademark infringement. The fact that the two marks are in different classes does not necessarily mean consumers are unlikely to be confused by the two marks. The fact that the customers of each business are different is relevant, but not conclusive. I recommend speaking with a trademark attorney to evaluate all the facts to determine your chances of success.

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