Mars Files Trademark Dispute Over Pet Food Branding

Pet food company Mars, Inc. filed its opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in the Patent and Trademark Office to a trademark application filed by Big Dogs Rule, LLC on Wednesday. Big Dogs had applied for the trademark of the term “BIG DOGS RULE,” which Mars is opposing on the grounds that it will likely cause confusion among consumers as well as dilution by blurring, and that it will violate sections of the Trademark Act.

Mars owns four separate trademarks for the wording “DOGS RULE” and “DOGS RULE.” They use these trademarks, which they assert are “valid and subsisting,” in connection with their pet-related goods and services. Mars’ products have been advertised and promoted using these trademarks since as early as 2002, which Mars describes has resulted in the mark becoming “a well-known and distinctive indicator of the origin of Opposer’s goods and services.”

The complaint against Big Dogs describes that their trademark application for the term “BIG DOGS RULE” is for services that are nearly identical to Mars’, meaning that if granted, the trademark “is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception because the public is likely to believe falsely that the services emanate from the Opposer, or that the services are endorsed or sponsored by, affiliated or associated with, or otherwise connected to, Opposer.”

Mars contends that they will be irreparably damaged if the BIG DOGS RULE trademark is granted to the applicant. The complaint cites likelihood of confusion and dilution, leading the opposer to seek that the TTAB will sustain their opposition and deny Big Dogs registration of their trademark.

The opposer is represented by ArentFox Schiff.