Patron Tequila cancels Porton Pisco trademark

In a non-precedential opinion issued on January 4, 2017, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) cancelled two US trademark registrations for PORTON for “distilled spirits; brandy; pisco” on grounds that they were confusingly similar to PATRON for “tequila.” PORTON is the brand name for a Peruvian brandy, pisco, sold by Pisco Porton and PATRON is the brand for a Mexican tequila sold by Patron Spirits Int’l.  The TTAB concluded that there was a likelihood of confusion between the marks based on the similarity of marks, the relatedness of goods, the channels of trade, the classes of customers and the conditions under which the products are sold. The TTAB held that since the products were deemed “legally identical,” the degree of similarity between the marks necessary to find confusion was reduced. While any Spanish speaker would distinguish these marks based on meaning alone (“porton” means door or gate and “patron” means guest or customer), it is clear that the TTAB will not put as much weight on differences in connotation when the marks are non-English words.