In May, the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board sided with Ralph Lauren and cancelled a hilarious trademark. Rather than focusing on the hilarity of the mark and the obvious parody at play here, the TTAB instead focused on the fame of Ralph Lauren’s mark and said that since both of the marks appear on shirts, they don’t need to look that similar to be likely to be confused.
On the subject of parody, the TTAB pointed out that the owners of the parody mark said they were intending to parody high society and NOT necessarily parody Ralph Lauren’s mark itself. thus, since the mark wasn’t a true parody, and because, as the Board stiffuily puts it: “Parody is not a defense if the marks are otherwise confusingly similar,” the TTAB cancelled the mark and the world is now a little less funny. See opinion below.