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April 29, 2010
News - SparkFun Gets a Cease and…
about 9 years ago
There is no evidence of a closely confusing SFE mark on any of SI's products, or vice versa. The domain name is unlikely to confuse. The word "spark", which SI argues is phonetically similar, has long been a generic word in the electronic arts. "SPARC" is unique in its composition, as is "SPARKFUN"; both do not occur in the standard English dictionary. Generic portions of a mark cannot be used as evidence of likelihood of confusion. Again, marks must be observed in their organic whole.
All in all, they're wasting your time.
I didn't do a search yet, but I'm curious as to what eventually happened,. granted this is over a year old now. IMO,
Sparkfun (SFE) has a straightforward position against SPARC International (SI). Off the top of my head, it's threefold.
SFE's TM contains no visually identical syntax to SI's TM. For starters, SPARC and SPARKFUN are dissimilar. You absolutely are NOT allowed to dissect marks the way SI's counsel has attempted to do. By extension, SPARC and SPARKFUN do not sound or look the same. Phonetic similarity will only get you so far, that is, if SI can prove that there is actual confusion (not possibility of confusion) expressed by their market.
Second, SFE does not cater to the market that SI dominates in. It is far too unlikely for a customer seeking multi-thousand dollar data systems will be misled into thinking SFE is related; SFE sells kits and odds and ends for hobbyists and the DIY community. The sheer pricing difference between SFE and SI's products are grounds to dismiss likelihood of purchaser confusion.
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