Client Alert: TTAB Decisions Can Preclude Court Determinations of Likelihood of Confusion in Infringement Cases

On March 24, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., holding that a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) decision on likelihood of confusion for purposes of registration of a mark can be binding in a later district court infringement action. The decision has significant implications for trademark owners—potentially affecting both registration decisions and enforcement strategies.  Following B&B Hardware, the TTAB’s decision regarding likelihood of confusion can be binding in later infringement litigation against the same opponent.