The NOBLE HOUSE trademark got lost in a corporate muddle. Floorco Enterprises LLC claimed that it was using the NOBLE HOUSE trademark for furniture since 2010. The problem? Floorco wasn’t really using the mark. Its parent company, Furnco International Corp. was. And even then, Furnco was only using it sporadically. Noble House Home Furnishings filed a cancellation proceeding. The reason is simple . . . well, not quite. A parent company’s use of a mark can inure to the benefit of its subsidiary. But a subsidiary’s use does not inure to the benefit of the parent. Since, Floorco wasn’t using the mark, it was deemed abandoned. The TTAB canceled Floorco’ s trademark.

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS. It’s all about control. The parent controls the subsidiary. But the subsidiary doesn’t control the parent. Trademark use is also about control. You can’t allow someone to use your trademark without control over how they use it. Floorco had the registration but no control over Furnco. Assuming that Furnco’ s sporadic use was enough to preserve the trademark, a license agreement between Floorco and Furnco might have avoided the cancellation.

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