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Supreme Court Raises the Stakes of TTAB Proceedings

On March 24, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision that quickly made waves in the trademark community. In B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., 575 U.S. ___ (Mar. 24, 2015), the Court held for the first time that certain rulings made by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), such as whether a likelihood of confusion exists, can have binding effects on subsequent trademark infringement litigation. Although the Court cautioned that not all issues decided by the TTAB will result in such binding effects, the B&B Hardware decision will undoubtedly increase the gravity—and, likely, the time and expense—of proceedings before the TTAB. More…