NBA Star Embiid Cannot Register ‘Trust the Process’ Shoe Brand


NBA star Joel Embiid’s offer to register a “Trust the Process” mark for shoes was blocked by a CNBC reality show host already registering it for clothing, said the Trademark Trial and Appeal Commission.

The Cameroonian center of the Philadelphia 76ers did not rebut an examiner’s claim that identical brands for related products would confuse consumers, the TTAB said in a precedent-setting ruling.

Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World and host of the commercial reality show “The Profit”, registered his trademark in 2016.

The board rejected Embiid’s argument that its trademark “The Process” for clothing has peacefully coexisted with the Lemonis brand for years, suggesting that the new brand would not cause confusion.

“The Process” has also only been registered for two years, making it more vulnerable to challenges than a mark five years or more old, he said.

Embiid argued that its brands and those of Lemonis convey an entirely different business impression. He said he was a famous basketball player nicknamed “The Process”, and the brand associated with him suggests overcoming difficulties through persistence. Lemonis’ brand, on the other hand, is used on promotional clothing to support its business advice and TV show.

But the board said that did not change the fact that nothing in the respective product classes of the mark applications suggests the difference in contextual meaning or the limits of the scope of each mark in certain contexts. He also said that while the public may identify “The Process” with Embiid, “Trust the Process” is different.

The TTAB also said nothing on the record in favor of applying precedents when identical word marks were deemed to have a different commercial opinion. These cases, she said, presented evidence that marks had different meanings when applied to specific products. Embiid failed to show that “Trust the process” meant anything different on shoes than clothes, he said.

The board also rejected Embiid’s argument that the products were sold through completely different channels of commerce. Embiid did not put any limitation in the application as to where the products would be sold, meaning the reviewer had to assume that they go through “all normal channels” for this type of product, he said. -he declares.

Embiid has pending trademark applications to “Trust the Process” in other products, including toys, cell phone cases and soft drinks.

Administrative Trademark Judge Christopher Larkin drafted the opinion, joined by Michael B. Adlin and Christen M. English.

Dinsmore & Shohl LLP represented Joel Embiid.

The case is In re Joel Embiid, TTAB, serial no.88202890, 5/26/21.


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