Citibank's Trademarks Famous in 1983, Infamous Circa 2007
It likely doesn't qualify as an epic fail, but humbled banking giant Citibank recently lost a battle before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. As reported by the TTABlog, Citi opposed the registration of four marks by Capital City Bank, a relatively minor player with 73 branches in Florida, Georgia and Alabama (not to be confused with Capitol City Bank & Trust, an even smaller outfit with a grand total of eight branches), for banking and financial services. The TTAB found no likelihood of confusion or dilution between the "standard character" (i.e., words alone with no logo) marks of the two firms, in part because the Capital City Bank marks give the primary impression of the "geographic designation CAPITAL CITY" (the bank was founded in Tallahassee, Fla.) added to the element "BANK."
As part of its decision, found here, in all its 68-page glory (PDF), the Board found that the "CITIBANK" trademark became famous in 1983, eight years after Capital City Bank began using its mark. Moreover, the Board identified many third parties using the term "City Bank" in the course of providing similar services, and cited a lack of evidence of actual confusion.
There was also no indication that Capital City Bank "intended to create an association with" the Citi mark. Because who in his right mind would want to create such an association these days?
Posted by Eric Lipman on February 23, 2010 at 03:30 PM | Permalink
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