Campari America has a long history of using TTAB proceedings to attack small businesses and their trademarks that had “sky,” “skyy,” or even just “yy” in their name. And like Skyyguard, many of these companies do not present any actual threat to Campari America’s brands in that they don’t make distilled spirits. Campari America files these proceedings, as opposed to formal federal-court filings, because even though their charges are objectively baseless, the TTAB has no statutory authority to award attorney fees and other legal costs to the smaller, economically-challenged businesses that have been unfairly and improperly victimized. Faced with serious expenditures of precious time and monetary resources to defend their rights, most of these small companies unfortunately choose to default and/or settle their cases by agreeing to “voluntarily” abandon their U.S. trademark-registration applications. In fact, none of Campari America’s many predatory and abusive filings against these small business has ever been tried on their merits before the TTAB or before any federal court.
On the merits of the case, Skyyguard has an excellent chance of winning based on several factors that are addressed in current case law, among them being:
To assert trademark dilution under the U.S. trademark statutes, a mark must be generally famous with the general public, not just famous within its main channel of trade. We feel strongly that Campari America will not be able to meet this legal burden.
Another major factor that weighs in favor of Skyyguard is that Skyyguard’s services bear no reasonable relationship with the claimed goods (that is, vodka products) associated with Campari America’s SKYY marks. Because Skyyguard is a roofing company, not a distillery, the Skyyguard brand does not present any realistic dilution threat to SKYY Vodka’s current trademark.
There is a significant difference between the trademarks – Skyyguard’s mark is both a compound word that is part of a stylized logo design. SKYY Vodka is two words. Therefore, there is basically no chance of confusion between the marks by the consuming public.
However, Campari America (and its legal counsel) have engaged in many questionable tactics that are meant to intimidate Skyyguard as well as both prolong and delay any chance of trying the case on its merits, while also trying to greatly increase the costs realized by Skyyguard. On October 20, 2019, Campari America’s legal counsel filed a motion to amend its Notice of Opposition as well as to reset the deadline for the Discovery period, causing even more delay. Startup IP Law is working to bring the proceedings to trial as soon as possible to try the case on its merits while minimizing expenses for Skyyguard.
Skyyguard intends to continue to defend its rights against Campari America, even though Campari’s legal team expressly threatened to bankrupt Skyyguard if Skyyguard keeps fighting, in order to hopefully help put an end to Campari’s chronic abuses of TTAB processes against small businesses and to prevent future small businesses from being attacked with such baseless claims.
***Any and all funds will go specifically to the attorney fees for SKYYGUARD. Once there is no longer a need for the attorney's fees, any additional funds will go towards a family in need in the greater Denver area. This will be broadcasted through all social media channels.***
- Vance Braziel
- Sarosh Zahra
- Drew Simmons
- Bryan Jolly
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