Federal Circuit Clarifies Standard For Assessing “Fame” Of Trademarks In Likelihood Of Confusion Context

Fitzpatrick Case Update
May 25, 2017

On May 24, 2017, Federal Circuit Judges Newman, Dyk and Wallach issued a per curiam opinion in Joseph Phelps Vineyards, LLC v. Fairmont Holdings, LLC clarifying the standard for assessing the “fame” of trademarks in a likelihood of confusion context.  According to the decision, fame in that context is not an all-or-nothing factor, but instead can vary “along a spectrum from very strong to very weak.”  Moreover, fame must be assessed based on the totality of the circumstances, “which requires considering all the relevant factors on a scale appropriate to their merits.”

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