On Wednesday, Sony Corporation filed a notice of opposition before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against applicant Soni Poke Bowl Ventures’s application to register for the SONI POKE mark and design, asserting likelihood of consumer confusion and dilution.
Sony claimed that it is the owner of SONY and SONY-formative marks. Sony asserted that the SONY brand and marks have been “extensively advertised and promoted in connection with Sony’s goods and services,” that its marks are famous, and that the registrations are valid and thus constitute prima facie evidence of the validity of the marks and registrations. The SONY Marks are in Class 9, 16, and 21 and cover a variety of television, computer, entertainment, computer games, music, and other related goods and services.
According to the opposition, the SONI POKE mark and design covers “Fast casual restaurants featuring Hawaiian food, poke and poke bowls; Restaurant services featuring poke burritos and bowls; Restaurant services featuring poke and rice bowls” in Class 43.
Sony noted that its marks have priority over the SONI POKE mark. Sony averred that the SONY and SONI POKE marks and design are similar because “the SONI POKE mark consists of the initial, dominant, and visually separate term ‘SONI,’ which is identical in pronunciation and nearly identical in appearance to the famous SONY mark, with the generic name ‘POKE,’ which is a food dish comprised of diced raw fish. Poke diced raw fish adds to the confusing similarity of the SONI POKE mark with the SONY mark – one of the most famous brands in Japan, a country of world renown for dishes comprised of raw fish.” As a result, of these similarities and the purported similarities of these goods and services, Sony alleged that the SONI POKE mark and design is likely to cause consumer confusion, mistake, or deception between its mark and the applicant.
Additionally, Sony proffered that its marks are “inherently distinctive” and “widely recognized” by consumers and the public. Sony added that its distinctive and famous marks have priority over the applicant’s mark. Sony claimed that the applicant’s SONI POKE mark and design “so closely resembles Sony’s famous and distinctive SONY Marks that the SONI POKE and Design mark is likely to dilute the distinctive quality of the SONY Marks.”
Consequently, Sony requests that its opposition is sustained and the applicant’s registration is refused. Sony is represented by Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner.