One year ago the whole world went into lockdown. In an effort to relieve our boredom, a new Netflix series captivated audiences. The Netflix show Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness brought Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin into homes nationwide. In fact, we wrote on two different posts on how IP infringement brought down Tiger King. Well Carole Baskin (“Baskin”) is back in the IP arena. This time, she is opposing the registration of the slogan “Hey All You Cool Cats And Kittens”.
Hey All You Cool Cats and Kittens as a trademark
The slogan became famous in 2020 when Carole used the phrase in the Netflix Tiger King show. However, Baskin alleges she began using the phrase as far back as 2017. Baskins, through her organization Big Cat Rescue Inc., filed her own trademark application for the slogan in March of 2021. She filed the mark for various educational and charitable services as well as for clothing.
Daniel Brown (“Brown”) filed an intent to use trademark application for the slogan “Hey All You Cool Cats And Kittens” on April 9, 2020 for retail store services and online retail store services for clothing and consumer merchandise. Baskin instituted an opposition proceeding with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to stop the mark from registering.
Intent to use trademarks are filed when the owner has not yet used the mark in interstate commerce but has a bona fide intent to use the mark for the enumerated goods/services in the future. Intent to use trademark applications represent a way to establish priority for the mark prior to using it in commerce.
Baskin alleges likelihood of confusion
Baskin alleges the public associates her and her organization, Big Cat Rescue Inc., with the slogan. She notes the tagline has been regularly and continuously used in her audio and audio-video programs since at least as early as August 2017. Baskin, through Big Cat Rescue, commercialized the tagline to enhance its fundraising efforts by branding apparel and other merchandise with the tagline.
Baskin alleges Brown viewed the Tiger King show. Now he attempts to exploit the success of the Tiger King show by using the slogan and filing the trademark application. Interestingly, over 64 million households viewed the show in the first month of its release on March 20, 2020. Brown filed his trademark application for the slogan on April 9, 2020, a mere 3 weeks after the Tiger King first aired. Baskin notes that Brown’s use of the mark would falsely suggest a connection with Baskin.
Baskin also notes the applied for mark is identical in sound, appearance, and connotation with the slogan used by Baskin since 2017. As such, there is a likelihood of confusion between the marks.
Baskin likely acquired common law rights in the slogan since she used it since 2017. She can rely on these rights for her likelihood of confusion argument. Brown will likely be hard pressed to get his mark allowed. Brown has until April 17th to file his response.