Indianapolis – It could be another two years before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rules on Bose’s petition to cancel CEDIA’s "Lifestyle Electronics" trademark registrations, CEDIA’s trademark attorney told TWICE.
In the meantime, CEDIA [the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association] can continue using the two words to describe its mission because the patent office has no authority to issue a temporary injunction on their use, attorney Peter Mack said. Bose could sue CEDIA in court to get an injunction, but to date, Mack said he has picked up "no signals" from Bose that it would go to court. The patent office doesn’t impose monetary damages, he added.
In a petition filed late last year with the trademark office’s Trademark Trial and Appeals Board, Bose contended it has exclusive rights to use the term Lifestyle in connection with music systems. The company said it obtained its first trademark registration for the Lifestyle name years before CEDIA began using the "Electronic Lifestyles" trademark. CEDIA said it began using the trademark in 1995 and received four federal trademark registrations for the term in 1998 and 1999.
Despite Bose’s earlier registration, trademark infringement allegations must be judged "in the context of what the respective parties do," Mack said. "CEDIA argues that it is in an entirely different field, offers different services, and has an entirely different class of customers than Bose." CEDIA’s customer base is the trade, while Bose’s customer base is consumers, he said. As a result, there "is no likelihood of confusion" caused by CEDIA’s use of the Lifestyle Electronics trademark, he continued.
The discovery phase of the administrative process is winding down and will be followed by a testimony phase in which depositions are taken. That process will take a minimum of six months, Mack said. During that time, documents and testimony are submitted in writing to the trademark office’s board.
Once the testimony phase is complete, the appeals board will schedule oral arguments "some months" later, Mack continued. "After that, it’s unpredictable. Sometimes it takes a year [for the board to issue a decision]."