Polo Runs Roughshod over Pro Se Applicant with No Bona Fide Intent
The Board granted Opposer PRL's motion for summary judgment in this opposition proceeding, ruling that pro se applicant Richard C. Young lacked a bona fide intent to use the mark shown below, for "shirts" [IRISH, POLO CLUB, and USA disclaimed]. Mr. Young had no documentation to support his alleged intent to use the mark, and his discovery responses indicated that he had no concrete plans to do so. PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Rich C. Young, Opposition No. 91206846 (October 16, 2013) [not precedential].
PRL established its standing by pleading ownership of 49 registrations for marks that included the word POLO and/or a depiction of a polo player. Its notice of opposition claimed likelihood of confusion and dilution. After receiving applicant's discovery responses, PRL successfully moved to amend its notice of opposition to add the lack-of-bona-fide-intent claim.
As to the summary judgment motion, applicant Young had stated in response to PRL's interrogatories regarding products, revenues, and market research, that he was in an "intention to use status" and did not have "any business planning yet." In response to PRL'S document requests, Young indicated that no documents existed and that he did not "have business activities yet."
The Board noted that Young "has no documentary evidence of business plans, marketing or promotional activities, nor any discussions with manufacturers or licensees." There was no evidence that Young has any current business at all. In short he failed to provide any objective evidence of a bona fide intent to use the applied-for mark.
The Board has "repeatedly found a lack of bona fide intent to use a mark by individuals who lack the demonstrated capacity to produce the goods identified in the application." Swatch AG v. M.Z. Berger & Co., Opposition No. 91187092 (September 30, 2013). TTABlogged here.
The Board concluded that Young's intent at the time of filing was "merely to reserve a right in the mark" in case it was later approved for publication, and that he would "only at some unspecified future time begin developing a business."
Because there is no documentary evidence of applicant’s bona fide intent to use applicant’s mark in commerce to identify his goods at the time he filed his application, and applicant has not come forth with any evidence to explain his lack of documentary evidence, the Board cannot conclude that applicant had a bona fide intent to use his mark at the time of filing the application.
The Board therefore granted the motion for summary judgment and sustained the opposition.
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TTABlog note: Too bad there isn't be some easier way to get rid of these bogus ITU applications. How about asking for Board participation in the discovery/settlement conference and having the interlocutory attorney probe the ITU issue? I'm beginning to think that a conference should be required at the commencement of every case, to try to weed out the hopeless causes (e.g., fraud claims).
Text Copyright John L. Welch 2013.