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GM fends off challenge to its 'Super Cruise' trademark

GM fends off challenge to its 'Super Cruise' trademark

  • Summary of the following
  • Related documents
  • Micro Mobio's identical mark, which is often used with different goods, is nearly identical to Micro Micro' Moby'.
  • TTAB had to make a proper determination of the GM's mark' validity.

General Motors LLC on Tuesday beat back a challenge by computer component maker Micro Mobio Corp to the "Super Cruise" trademark, which GM uses for its semi-autonomous vehicle technology.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the firms' products are similar enough that consumers aren't likely to be confused by the nearly identical marks.

GM spokesperson Darryll Harrison said the company was pleased with the decision. Micro Mobio and its attorney Christopher Horgan of Roark IP didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. GM's attorney Dennis Abdelnour of Honigman declined to comment, and Micro Micro' MoBio and it' s lawyer Christopher Heorgan from Roarch IP did not immediately return e-mail.

Micro Mobio, based in Palo Alto, California, sells semiconductors for wireless devices that utilize "SuperCruise" connectivity technology. In 2018, it asked the United States Patent and Trademark Office to delete Detroit-based GM's federal "Super Cruise" trademark, arguing the nearly identical name was likely to cause confusion.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the PTO's TradeMark Trial & Appeal Panel ruled last year for GM, finding confusion unlikely because the firms' goods aren't related and their customers' bases don''.

Micro Mobio challenged several aspects of the decision on appeal, arguing the goods were similar because GM's Super Cruise technology uses micro MoBio' s to function, and the board underestimated its mark' effectiveness.

Circuit Judge William Bryson, along with Chief Circuit Justice Kimberly Moore and Circuit Court Judge Sharon Prost, found that "any of Micro Mobio's factual or legal arguments have no merit."

The appeals court held that the companies' goods aren't related. Bryson stated that when the marks are the same, the relevant question is whether the goods may be encountered by the identical buyers "under circumstances that could give rise to the mistaken belief that the products come from a common source," and that Micro Mobio didn't meet that standard here.

The parties' client bases don't overlap, and the court rejected Micro Mobio's arguments that its products were related because GM''S Super Cruise "contains and relies on computer hardware and software" like Micro mobio.

"The fact that goods like the computer components that Micro Mobio sells are commonly found in products of all kinds, such as washing machines, watches, toys, and medical instruments, does not imply that computer parts of any kind are complementary products for each of those devices for purposes of trademark law," Bryson said.

Micro Mobio's argument that its trademark was arbitrary, not indicative of its products, and therefore entitled to greater protection was also rejected by the Federal Circuit.

Micro Mobio said its executives chose the "SuperCruise" name simply because they liked the sound of it. However, Bryson agreed with the board that the name implied the company's ability to "accomplish the extremely quick and smooth receipt and transfer of signals," regardless of the firm'' reason for choosing it.

Ford had claimed earlier this year in a separate case that GM's "Super Cruise" trademark was generic, as part of arguably more difficult trademark dispute than the two United States automakers have since agreed to settle.

Micro Mobio Corp v. General Motors LLC, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 21-1591.

Christopher Horgan of Roark IP (Roark) is the co-host of Micro Mobio.

Dennis Abdelnour of Honigman is the GM.

Read more:

Ford attacks in 'cruise' dispute with GM during a disputed quota dispute.

GM, Ford to settle lawsuit over use of the 'BlueCruise' name for hands-free driving.

Blake Brittain is a writer who lives in London.

Blake Brittain reviews intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks and copyrights. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com or cbbel.britaine@texasreview.net.

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