What is the McLikelihood of McConfusion Anyway?
McDonalds Corporation won a victory before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) against a food company named McSweet LLC. McSweet wanted to register its name for pickled vegetables. McSweet argued that the mark was a play on the company founder’s name, Leo McIntyre. The TTAB rejected the argument. It held the public is likely to associate “McSweet” with McDonald’s family of “Mc” marks. The TTAB also rejected McSweet’s argument that no one would be confused between fast food and pickles.
TAKE AWAY: Trademark law protects the consuming public from a likelihood of confusion about the source of products and services they buy, use or consume. This case is a good example of a likelihood of confusion. If you saw “McSweet” on a grocery shelf, you’d probably think that McDonald’s is selling the warm pickles they put on their burgers. This case also points out that a trademark protects not only the specific goods and services associated with the mark, but any overlapping goods or services. Food is food.