In the President’s action for annulment, the Trademark Review and Appeal Board (TTAB or Board) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held that the petitioner’s delay of three years and two months in canceling the defendant’s trademark registration was unreasonable and insufficient justified. The affirmative defense violates and therefore denies the plaintiff’s dilution claim, raising the standard of a petition in court from the likelihood of confusion to inevitable confusion. Ava Ruha Corp. V. Mother’s Nutritional Center, Inc., 113 USPQ2d 1575 (TTAB, January 29, 2015) (Taylor, APJ; Wellington, APJ; Ritchie, APJ) (on curiam) (ante).
Respondent, Ava Ruha Corporation d/b/Mom’s Market & Kitchen (Ava), v. Official Mommy’s Food Center, Inc. Retailers specifically authorized to purchase nutritional products for pregnant women, new mothers, and young children participating in the Federal Women’s, Infants, and Children’s (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program in Class 35, based on the possibility of confusion and dilution with registered brand “Maternal market and kitchen” for use in relation to “restaurant and grocery services for the preparation of natural and Health and Food Products,” in the 42nd edition
The parties filed counter motions for summary judgment on the positive defense of Laches. To prove the defense of laches, the defendant must show that there was an unjustified or unreasonable delay on the part of the other party in exercising its rights and that the delay resulted in damage. For the first grid, anti-latches are calculated earlier than the date of publication of the trademark and earlier than the date of issue of the registration. Here, the complainant was aware of the defendant’s notes prior to publication on 16 June 2009, but applications for annulment were not filed until 21 August 2012; This means three years and two months late. Plaintiff contends that this is not an unreasonable or undue delay, as there is no reason to seek termination until Defendant reorients its business to compete more directly with Plaintiff.
The Commission considered the progressive infringement theory, which considers whether the respondent has changed its business to compete more directly with the applicant, and held that “for the purposes of contesting the registration, the alleged infringement is not a progressive infringement.” The registration in question is the context.” Plaintiff’s delay cannot be justified because defendant’s records clearly relate to a grocery store. Regarding the second term, the Board agreed with the defendant that the delay harmed the petition as the defendant expanded to 15 stores and spent millions of dollars promoting its brands since 2009. The delay period, Ava’s delay was unreasonable and biased.
The board also concluded that Laches had barred the plaintiff’s dilution claims. With respect to Claimant’s claim of confusion, the Panel considers that, since Respondent has shown that there is no genuine dispute over the lach issue, Claimant cannot rely solely on the demonstration of the likelihood of confusion. The applicant must provide evidence of confusion showing that confusion was unavoidable, an increase beyond what is necessary to detect the likelihood of confusion.
Californians who receive food money through the Women’s, Infants and Children’s Supplemental Nutrition Program now receive electronic cards instead of the cumbersome paper vouchers that have been used for purchases since the program’s launch in 1974.
The federal program, better known as WIC, helps feed more than 1 million people in the state, most of them children.
The upgrade benefits are expected to be more efficient, easier to use, and less cumbersome for program members. It is hoped that the cards will encourage greater participation by those in need and merchants accepting WIC payments.
The state will introduce a new electronic system for each region. In Orange County, where WIC helps approximately 50,000 families, WIC card distribution will begin on Monday, November 11, and WIC programs in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties will be updated early next year. It should be completed across the state by March.
The WIC program provides basic foods for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding or have recently had an abortion, and children under 5 years of age. This benefit is available from authorized stores.
California, one of the last states to switch to plastic bags, contributes to the program’s success. The targeted policy requires participants to purchase one meal displayed on a 10-by-6-inch counter per store visit. This means that perishable goods such as milk, eggs, cheese and beans are bought in bulk.
“The paper system doesn’t even give members the ability to balance,” he said.
Use of vouchers may be limited. Customers are issued multiple coupons each month, so a mother with three young children may have two to five coupons for each child, all of which are visible to other customers.
“Of course, it’s a choice,” he said. “People know WIC checks because they’re so big.”
Also, vouchers cannot be replaced if lost or stolen. Electronic card PINs provide additional security and features.
Imagine a woman riding a bus to go shopping. According to the paper scheme, he had to buy several gallons of milk each visit, as well as groceries. This milk is difficult to recover and may spoil before use.
They buy what they need in the new plan.
“All he wants is a half gallon of milk,” she said. “Remaining options are always on the cards.”
The WIC program is funded by the USDA, and benefits are often tied to benefits offered under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. “People who are eligible for one federal program are also eligible for another,” he said.
WIC membership requirements range from $31,284 per year for a family of two to $55,815 per year for a family of five. According to Hernandez, citizenship or immigration status will not be checked.
The WIC program began as a pilot project in Kentucky 45 years ago. Since then, the early childhood food security system has received bipartisan support. Health and nutrition screenings, breastfeeding support and referral services are also provided.
Congress approved the paper-to-electronic transition 10 years ago with a 2020 deadline.
Many of the foods available through the WIC program range from dairy products like milk and cheese to eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, juices, canned fish, dried beans, and whole grains. Children’s babies. Monthly grants range from $2,000 to $1,000.
The change has been a positive one for Mother Food Center, which operates 80 WIC stores in California. According to Marketing Director Gloria Martinez, the center invested $250,000 in purchasing software and equipment and training for trainers. The Southern California store began moving to San Diego last month.
A food service center serving non-WIC clients operates like a pharmacy, with staff filling food orders instead of purchasing food because people like to pick out their own fruits and vegetables.
“People come in and out quickly,” he said of clients using WIC cards in the San Diego area. We expect the same in Orange County,” he said.