Tuesday, January 6, 2015

“pŏm” lands into trouble

The largest maker of 100% pomegranate juice, Pom Wonderful filed an infringement suit against Hubbard before the 9th Circuit to restrain it from selling a pomegranate-flavoured drink labeled “pŏm”. Pom Wonderful contended that “pŏm” is likely to cause confusion among the customers due to similarity with its own trade mark “POM”.

The Court of Appeal is of the view that five factors weigh in favor of Pom Wonderful (strength of mark, relatedness of goods, degree of consumer care, similarity of marks, and marketing channel convergence) and three factors are neutral (actual confusion, defendant’s intent, and product expansion). None of the factors weighs in favor of Pur. There are many semantic, aural and visual similarities particularly in respect of the marks in the respective labels.

Thus, the district court was erroneous and has abused its discretion. The decision is reversed and an injunction is granted by the higher court to further public interest.

-Shambhavi Mishra