Microsoft and Honda Are in a Powered-Up Trademark Dispute

Honda Motor Co., Ltd., (Honda) has recently filed four U.S. trademark oppositions at the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board’s (TTAB) division of the USPTO against Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) (see TTAB Opposition Nos. 91264502; 91264500; 91264501; and 91264504). In its opposition proceedings, Honda cites its own U.S. trademark registrations for the mark THE POWER OF DREAMS (U.S. Reg. No. 3843591).

Honda is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation primarily known for manufacturing motorcycles, automobiles, and certain types of power equipment such as generators and farm machinery. Microsoft is an American multinational technology company that designs, manufactures, licenses, sells, and supports several different technologies, from computer software and personal computers, to video game consoles.

The opposition proceedings, which were all officially filed on August 31, are over four separate trademark applications for the mark POWER YOUR DREAMS, which Microsoft applied for on December 26 and 31, 2019 (see U.S. Serial Nos. 88739730; 88743535; 88743534; and 88743537). Microsoft’s “Power Your Dreams” applications identified goods in international classes 009, 025, 028 and 038, and with the exception of class 025, the descriptions seem to clearly denote a connection to video games, stating precisely:

IC 009: Downloadable game software; Recorded game software; Downloadable video and computer game programs;

IC 025: Headwear; Footwear; Tops as clothing; Bottoms as clothing; Jackets; Coats; Shirts; Sweatshirts;

IC 028: Video game consoles; video game consoles for use with an external display screen or monitor; controllers for game consoles; game controllers in the nature of keyboards for computer games; video game interactive remote control units;

IC 038: Streaming of data; Streaming of audio material on the Internet; Streaming of video material on the Internet; Streaming of gaming material on the Internet; Electronic transmission and streaming of digital media content for others via global and local computer networks; Providing internet chat rooms.

Honda believes that Microsoft’s use of the mark is likely to suggest a false connection with Honda’s mark. Honda also claims that Microsoft’s mark will dilute the “distinctive quality” of its “famous” mark. They further claim that Microsoft intends to use its mark “on and in connection with goods that are identical to and/or closely related to goods that [Honda] sells” under the ‘The Power of Dreams’ mark.

Ultimately, Honda is arguing that allowing Microsoft to obtain a registration for this mark because doing so would support Microsoft’s dilution of Honda’s “The Power of Dreams” mark and “will give color of exclusive statutory right to Applicant in violation and derogation of the prior and superior rights of [Honda].”

One of the most interesting aspects of these opposition proceedings is that Honda actually states that Microsoft has an existing licensing agreement with Honda that allows Microsoft to use Honda’s “The Power of Dreams” mark in its video games. In fact, Honda states that because of this agreement, Microsoft’s use of its applied-for mark is likely to make one think of Honda’s mark.

If you would like to read the initial filling papers for each of the opposition proceedings, check out proceedings 91264502, 91264500, 91264501, and 91264504.

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