Hormel Loses Spam Court Battle

by 5m Editor
29 November 2007, at 11:25am

US - Pig meat processing giant Hormel has lost its court battle with computer software company Spam Alert over its right to use the term SPAM.

Hormel claimed that as Spam was the company's trademark and signature product, the use of the term by Spam Alert detracted from the product.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board dismissed Hormel Foods Corp.'s petition to cancel the trademark registration owned by Seattle-based Spam Arrest, LLC, for SPAM ARREST.

Hormel had argued Spam Arrest's mark was not entitled to registration based on a likelihood of confusion with and dilution of Hormel's family of famous SPAM trademarks.

Spam Arrest responded that "spam" is a generic term, which in connection with the word "arrest" is not likely to cause confusion or dilute Hormel's marks.

The appeal court ruled in favour of Spam Arrest.

"The Plaintiff (Hormel) has conducted brand awareness surveys showing awareness of its mark and/or products even among individuals, who do not purchase or use the products. Evidence of an association of the generic term "spam" with the plaintiff among survey respondents qualified as understanding the meaning of the generic term and who were not purchasers or users of the plaintiff's products would have been powerful evidence; but it was not the type of evidence provided in this case," the court ruled.

5m Editor