Federal Circuit Revives Trademark Case in Win for Juice Bar Operator

An appeal board with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must reevaluate a three-word mark used by Juice Generation Inc., “PEACE LOVE AND JUICE."

Josh Long, Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider

July 21, 2015

3 Min Read
Federal Circuit Revives Trademark Case in Win for Juice Bar Operator

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) must reexamine a request by a juice bar operator in New York City to register a mark, “PEACE LOVE AND JUICE."

The USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB or appeal board) previously refused to register Juice Generation Inc.’s mark, concluding that it was too similar to marks used by GS Enterprises LLC.

But in a decision Monday, three appeals judges with the Federal Circuit ruled that the TTAB should reevaluate the case because it had not sufficiently considered the evidence.

“We conclude that the Board did not adequately assess the weakness of GS’s marks and did not properly consider the three-word combination of Juice Generation’s mark as a whole in comparing it to the two-word combination in GS’s marks," wrote Circuit Judge Richard Taranto on behalf of the three-judge panel. Circuit judges Pauline Newman and Jimmie Reyna joined the opinion.

GS Enterprises owns registrations that incorporate the phrase “PEACE & LOVE" and relate to restaurant services. The registrations include “P & L PEACE & LOVE," “ALL YOU NEED IS PEACE & LOVE," “PEACE & LOVE" and P & L PEACE & LOVE NEW YORK."

Juice Generation was founded in 1999 by Eric Helms, who opened a juice bar in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, according to the company’s website. The company, which has expanded to more than a dozen stores in Manhattan, had applied to the USPTO for its mark in 2012. The TTAB concluded that Juice Generation’s mark and GS Enterprises’ marks were similar and likely to create consumer confusion.

The TTAB insufficiently weighed the strength or weakness of GS’s marks, a factor that is “probative of the likelihood of confusion," Taranto wrote in the 13-page opinion. He also said the appeal board failed to adequately consider Juice Generation’s three-word combination.

‘Weak’ Marks

The judge quoted a 2003 Federal Circuit case involving Coors Brewing Co. that noted, “Evidence of third-party use of similar marks on similar goods is relevant to show that a mark is relatively weak and entitled to only a narrow scope of protection."

Juice Generation introduced evidence that third parties had used the marks “peace" and “love" in combination with a third term identifying specific products. The TTAB wasn’t persuaded, referencing an absence of details “regarding the extent of sales or promotional efforts surrounding the third-party marks and, thus, what impact, if any, these uses have made in the minds of the purchasing public."

But Taranto said the appeal board “never inquired whether and to what degree the extensive evidence of third-party use and registrations indicates that the phrase PEACE & LOVE carries a suggestive or descriptive connotation in the food service industry, and is weak for that reason."


The Federal Circuit further concluded that the TTAB inadequately considered the three-word mark that was used by Juice Generation. The appeal board considered “peace" and “love" the dominant words and held that “juice" didn’t adequately distinguish Juice Generation’s mark from the marks used by GS Enterprises.

The appeal board’s analysis was flawed, according to the Federal Circuit.

“It does not display any consideration of how the three-word phrase in Juice Generation’s mark may convey a distinct meaning—including by having different connotations in consumers’ minds—from the two-word phrase used by GS," Taranto wrote. “While the Board may properly afford more or less weight to particular components of a mark for appropriate reasons, it must still view the mark as a whole."

Reaction to Decision

Nigamnarayan (Nigam) Acharya and Michael Baniak of the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP argued the case for Juice Generation. Justen Barks and Loren Craft of the law firm Craft Chu PLLC represented GS Enterprises.

“The case is important because only 10%-15% of TTAB decisions are reversed by the Federal Circuit on appeal," Acharya said in an emailed statement. He added that “the decision is precedential and clarifies the manner in which the TTAB and the USPTO are to examine evidence of third-party trademark registrations and usages."

Barks did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling.

About the Author(s)

Josh Long

Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider, Informa Markets Health and Nutrition

Josh Long directs the online news, feature and op-ed coverage at Natural Products Insider, which targets the health and wellness industry. He has been reporting on developments in the dietary supplement industry for over a decade, with a focus on regulatory issues, including at the Food and Drug Administration.

He has moderated and/or presented at industry trade shows, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo West, NBJ Summit and the annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn and ping him with story ideas at [email protected]

Education and previous experience

Josh majored in journalism and graduated from Arizona State University the same year "Jake the Snake" Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, was admitted in 2008 to practice law in the state of Colorado and spent a year clerking for a state district court judge.

Over more than a quarter century, he’s written on various topics for newspapers and business-to-business publications – from the Yavapai in Arizona and a controversial plan for a nuclear-waste incinerator in Idaho to nuanced issues, including FDA enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Since the late 1990s, his articles have been published in a variety of media, including but not limited to, the Cape Cod Times (in Massachusetts), Sedona Red Rock News (in Arizona), Denver Post (in Colorado), Casper Star-Tribune (in Wyoming), now-defunct Jackson Hole Guide (in Wyoming), Colorado Lawyer (published by the Colorado Bar Association) and Nutrition Business Journal.

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