Dilution : CAFC Alert

No likelihood of confusion with the mark BLUE INDUSTRY and opposer’s numerous marks having INDUSTRY as an element

| June 25, 2021

Pure & Simple Concepts, Inc. v. I H W Management Limited, DBA Finchley Group (non-precedential)

Decided on May 24, 2021

Moore, Reyna, Chen (opinion by Reyna)


            The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“the CAFC”) affirmed the Board’s determination of no likelihood of confusion or dilution between numerous marks of Pure & Simple Concepts, Inc. (hereinafter “P&S”) having the shared term “INDUSTRY” and “BLUE INDUSTRY” mark of I H W Management Limited, d/b/a The Finchley Group (hereinafter “Fincley”).


            P&S owns eight registered trademarks which all use the word “INDUSTRY” and licenses the use of these marks in connection with apparel items.  On April 30, 2015, Finchley filed an application to register the mark BLUE INDUSTRY for various clothing items.  P&S opposed registration of Finchley’s mark under Section 2(d) and 43(c) of the Lanham Act on the grounds of likelihood of confusion and likelihood of dilution by blurring based on P&S’s previous use and registration of its numerous INDUSTRY marks.  The Board dismissed the opposition, finding that P&S failed to prove a likelihood of confusion, and that P&S failed to establish the critical element of fame for dilution. 

P&S appealed to the CAFC, contending that the Board erred by (1) not considering all relevant DuPont factors; (2) determining the word “BLUE” to be the dominant term in Finchley’s mark; (3) relying heavily on third-party registrations; and (4) failing to find P&S’s family of marks as being famous.

First, in arguing that the Board erred by not considering all relevant DuPont factors, P&S contended that the Board did not consider that clothing items are more likely to be purchased on an impulse, and therefore, consumers are more likely to be confused.  Finchley argued that this argument concerns the DuPont factor 4, which P&S presented no evidence before the Board.  The CAFC agreed with Finchley, finding that P&S failed to present the evidence, and accordingly, P&S forfeited argument as to this factor.

Next, P&S contended that the Board erred in concluding that “BLUE” is the dominant term in the commercial impression created by Finchley’s mark.  While it is not proper to dissect a mark, “one feature of a mark may be more significant than other features, and [thus] it is proper to give greater force and effect to that dominant feature.” Giant Food, Inc. v. Nation’s Foodservice, Inc., 710 F.2d 1565, 1570 (Fed. Cir. 1983).  P&S cited as an example, Trump v. Caesars World, Inc., 645 F. Supp. 1015, 1019 (D.N.J. 1986), where the second word, “Palace,” was found to be dominant in the marks TRUMP PALACE and CEASER’S PALACE.  However, the CAFC determined that the Board’s finding that BLUE to be the lead term in Finchley’s mark, and that the term BLUE is most likely to be impressed upon the minds of the purchasers and be remembered was supported by substantial evidence.

Third, P&S argued that the Board erred by heavily relying on third-party registrations.  P&S argued that some of these third-party registrations were listed twice, some were canceled, some had no evidence of use, and some listed different goods.  Nevertheless, the CAFC affirmed that the term “INDUSTRY,” or the plural thereof, has been registered by numerous third parties to identify clothing and apparel items, and therefore, the term is weak, and the scope is limited as applied to clothing items.

Finally, as to P&S’s dilution claim, the Board determined that the number of registered marks by third parties having the INDUSTRY element precluded a finding that P&S owns a family of marks for the shared INDUSTRY element.  In addition, the evidence presented by P&S was insufficient to prove that the marks were famous.  The CAFC agreed with the Board’s finding of P&S’s dilution claim.

The CAFC found the Board’s findings are supported by substantial evidence, and the Board correctly found there was no likelihood of confusion of dilution.


  • Certain portions of a mark can be determined as being dominant.
  • Third party registrations are relevant in proving weakness of certain portions of a mark.

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