We're Ready To Review Your Legal Matter

We Work With Clients Locally And Globally

It’s Cards vs. Crabs in a Game of Cards

Many are familiar with Cards Against Humanity. The premise of this popular party game is for one player to draw a black card with a question or a “fill-in-the-blank” prompt, and the fellow players then respond using answers provided on white cards in their hand. The player needing a response then picks the funniest response and awards a point.

Vampire Squid applied to register a stylized mark for Crabs Adjust Humidity, but Cards Against Humanity opposed the application on the grounds of brand confusion, dilution and a false sense of connection.

Vampire Squid had initially created their cards a few years ago to compliment the Cards Against Humanity game and contacted Cards Against Humanity to see if the company was okay with the concept. The CEO responded, with a short email request to change the logo, but indicated that the packaging was fine. Vampire Squid claims that this is enough of consent to market and register the mark. Vampire Squid cards have been on the market for two years now.

Cards Against Humanity claims that it gave Vampire Squid limited permission to use the name for a limited run of cards and a one-time-only expansion pack to be sold online with a specific design.

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board rules

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) recently addressed the dispute, ruling in favor of Cards Against Humanity. The ruling is based on the fact that “acquiescence is a type of estoppel that is based upon the plaintiff’s conduct that expressly or by clear implication consents to, encourages or furthers the activities of the defendant, that is not objected to.”

A successful claim for acquiescence requires the defendant to show that:

  • The plaintiff actively stated that it would not assert a claim;
  • The gap between the initial approval and filing a claim was too long; and
  • The delay led to undue prejudice toward the defendant.

The court also ruled on the issue of brand confusion. Here again, it sided with Cards Against Humanity.

What can be learned here

The case is useful for illustrating that a general approval by a trademark holder may not amount to “acquiescence” under the law. Those with questions about a possible acquiescence defense should speak with an experienced trademark law attorney.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Questions?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Email Us For A Response

10801 Mastin Boulevard
Suite 1000
Overland Park, KS 66210

Toll Free: 888-483-2697
Fax: 913-647-9057
Map & Directions