Beyond Meat, Inc., a company which produces plant-based meat substitutes, filed an opposition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Friday alleging that an application for an international trademark for “Beyond Milk” filed by a German chocolate and candy company called Katjes Fassin GmbH + Co. KG would hurt its brand.
The filing said that Beyond Meat opposes all of the goods and services that the applicant wanted to use the Beyond Milk trademark with, including candies, chocolate, dairy-free chocolate, chocolate-flavored items, vegan chocolate substitute candy bars, confectionary bars, and other similar candies and snacks.
The opposer said that it is a “leading provider of vegan and vegetarian meat substitutes,” for which it uses a family of trademarks using the word “beyond,” including Beyond Meat, Beyond Chicken, and Beyond Burger. The opposer contended it has reportedly used the trademark since at least May 2012 in commerce around the United States, and has filed applications for trademarks to be used with various meat substitute products. The opposition said that Beyond Meat has invested resources in advertising and promoting its products using the trademarks, that the marks are recognizable and connected with the company, and that it has developed goodwill with the public through the family of marks.
The opposition claimed that there would be a likelihood of confusion connected with the Beyond Milk trademark because the marks are “highly similar in appearance, sound, meaning, and overall commercial impression.” They further said that, as the applicant disclaimed “milk” from the trademark because it was not distinctive, the designation is more likely to be confused with its products.
Further, since the applicant seeks to use the marks with products which use a milk replacement, Beyond Meat said the foods would likely “travel in the same channels” and be “purchased by the same class of consumers.” They alleged that this could cause confusion among consumers who could assume the Beyond Milk products were produced by the same company, which could hurt the opposer’s reputation.
Beyond Meat Inc., represented by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, asked the court to not grant the application for the Beyond Milk trademark.