Puma’s “procat” Likely to be Confusing with Caterpillar’s CAT & Triangle Design

  • February 25, 2023
  • Jose Garcia-Bonilla

In Puma SE v. Caterpillar Inc., 2023 FCA 4, the Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”) declined to set aside the Federal Court’s decision to refuse Puma SE’s (“Puma”) application to register its trademark “procat”. The FCA held that Puma failed to demonstrate any palpable or overriding error in the Federal Court’s analysis that “procat” would be confusing with Caterpillar Inc.’s (“Caterpillar”) CAT & Triangle Design Mark (the “Design Mark”) for use in association with athletic footwear and headgear.

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It also made clear that there is a presumption that a Judge has considered all the evidence, and a fair reading of the Fuhrer J.’s decision confirms that she did consider all the evidence and simply refused Puma’s preferred interpretation.

To summarize the proceedings, Caterpillar opposed the registration of Puma’s trademark “procat” to the Trademarks and Opposition Board (the “Board”). Caterpillar argued that “procat” was confusing with its Design Mark, and its word mark “CAT”. Caterpillar claimed it also had sufficient control over its marks in Canada by licensees to establish that its mark has become known. The Board disagreed with Caterpillar and rejected all grounds of opposition.