Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 14,600+ case briefs...

B & B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
135 S.Ct. 1293 (2015)


Facts

Hargis Industries, Inc. (Hargis) (defendant), manufactured fasteners for use in the construction industry under the trade name “SEALTITE.” B&B Hardware, Inc. (B&B) (plaintiff) manufactured fasteners for use in the aerospace industry under the trade name “SEALTIGHT.” Hargis sought to register its trade name pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051, through a United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) administrative process. B&B opposed the registration in a proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). Thereafter, B&B filed suit in federal district court against Hargis for trademark infringement. While the action was pending in district court, the TTAB held for B&B, concluding that Hargis’s mark could not be registered because it too closely resembled B&B’s mark and could cause confusion. B&B argued in district court that Hargis could not contest the likelihood of confusion due to the preclusive effect of the TTAB’s decision. The district court disagreed, reasoning that the TTAB was not an Article III court. After a trial, a jury held for Hargis. B&B appealed. The court of appeals affirmed because (1) the TTAB used different factors to evaluate likelihood of confusion, (2) the TTAB placed too much emphasis on the appearances and sounds of the two marks, and (3) Hargis had the burden of persuasion before the TTAB while B&B had the burden of persuasion before the district court. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

Concurrence (Ginsburg, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 275,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,600 briefs, keyed to 196 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.