In a global marketplace, branding in a foreign language can lead to some curious situations. The current example is the TTAB decision cancelling the registration for the “Portón” line of brandy launched in 2011 in the US by a Peruvian firm Pisco (Portón in Spanish is a large entry door, typically for a grand ranch or residence).
The company objecting to this mark is the famous “Patrón” brand of tequila from México (Patrón in Spanish is the boss, or an employer, in an organization). While the two terms mean very different things to Spanish speakers – and one is a thing and the other a person – the TTAB was persuaded to agree with the tequila brand’s position that, for most non-spanish speakers in the US market, both terms can be likely to be confused as they do not appear to sufficiently distinguish the marks, particularly in a noisy bar setting.
The case seems clear enough, although confusing to us Spanish speakers as the terms do not have the same meaning…but as far as branding in the US is concerned, they do!
Hat tip: @BDonahueLaw360
Case: Pisco Porton LLC v Patron SPirits Int’l. AG (USPTO TTAB 92059527)