Wenderoth Wards Off Opposition In Precedential Decision

June 22, 2017

In Executive Coach Builders, Inc. v. SPV Coach Company, Inc., Opposition No. 91212312 (TTAB June 21, 2017), Wenderoth’s trademark team successfully achieved dismissal of an opposition against Client SPV COACH’S Trademark “ARMBRUSTER STAGEWAY.” SPV COACH had adopted the defunct “ARMBRUSTER STAGEWAY” brand in 2012 for use in connection with specialty cars within the funeral car industry. Opposer Executive Coach, the largest builder of limousines worldwide, had opposed SPV COACH’S application on the theory that they had priority by virtue of an alleged assignment of rights in 1993. Wenderoth sought out nine witnesses across five states in various sectors of the funeral car industry, including deposing the head of Cadillac’s Cadillac Master Coachbuilders (CMC) Program, in order to establish that Opposer had abandoned any rights acquired in the ARMBRUSTER STAGEWAY mark at least as early as 1996. Given the rare nature of precedential abandonment cases before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the Executive Coach decision seems to signal the importance of third-party testimony and documentary evidence in abandonment cases before the USPTO. SPV Coach is one of the largest manufacturers of funeral cars in the United States: its cars have served countless celebrations of life, including the funeral homecoming of the District of Columbia’s “Mayor for Life” Marion Barry.

For the complete decision, please see: