SparkNotes Opposes “Be That Spark” Trademark in Brand Dispute

SparkNotes, owner of the educational and entertainment website and accompanying app has filed an opposition to Zuroam Media’s proposed trademark, “Be That Spark.” Wednesday’s opposition says that SparkNotes’ suite of SparkNotes-related trademarks are at risk of consumer confusion and dilution by blurring and tarnishment in its request to the Trademark Trial And Appeal Board (TTAB) to refuse Zuroam’s proposed registration.

SparkNotes, a New York company, explains that its business revolves around online educational and entertainment content and serves students, teachers, educators, and consumers. Among other offerings, SparkNotes features ebooks, downloadable computer apps, streaming and downloadable, as well as non-downloadable educational content, such as instructional material, study guides, charts, flash cards, books, e-books, and teacher guides.

The 131-page opposition also details Sparknotes’ trademark repertoire, including Sparknotes, SparkTeach, Spark Your Career In Book Series, SparkCharts, SparkLife, The Spark.Com, SparkNotes 101, Spark Publishing, The Daily Spark, and others currently pending.

The filing asserts that Texas-based Zuroam Media proposes to register its trademark for use in digital materials including books and videos as well as works of fiction, like books featuring children and ones focusing on self-motivation and self-esteem. The complaint is replete with screenshots of exemplary Zuroam material, including videos on its YouTube page and posts on its Facebook page.

SparkNotes argues that the risk of consumer confusion is high given “Be That Spark’s” similar sound, appearance, and overall impression with its family of marks. The opposition points to the fact that “spark” is the dominant word of the competing marks, and that the contested one incorporates a highly similar “spark” design. The filing further says that potential clients of SparkNotes and Zuroam Media overlap, thereby increasing the chance of product confusion.

SparkNotes, represented by Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz LLP, asks the TTAB to sustain its objection and refuse Zuroam’s its requested registration.