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Same trade name, different holders: no conflict

An entity holding trademark rights to an undeniably catchy title became quickly aware last year when a company in another locale filed an application for the same name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

In lieu of contesting that action, the senior holder decided to forgo challenging it, determining that the dual uses of the name might actually redound to its benefit.

And it might have failed to prevail against the junior filer, anyway.

That new kid on the block is famed ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's, which was granted rights to the rhythmic sounding Urban Bourbon for one of its newer flavored concoctions.

The other Urban Bourbon name -- the parent, if you will -- is the designation applicable to the Kentucky city of Louisville, which has an undeniably storied history when it comes to bourbon. City officials came up with the title Urban Bourbon Trail to promote visits and tours to Louisville, and it has apparently had a salutary effect.

Back to Ben & Jerry's. Again, the company makes ice cream. Moreover, it is located in Vermont and is not remotely associated with fine sipping whiskey.

Officials with the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau well appreciate that and see no conflict of interest between the two marks.

In fact, an executive with the bureau thinks that a popular ice cream of the same name could be a real boon to the Trail, noting that someone with a spoon in one hand and a pint of Urban Bourbon in the other could conceivably "envision a trip to Bourbon Country to do the Urban Bourbon Trail."

The bottom line: same mark, two entities, everybody happy.

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