The mark was applied for “Apparatus fo [sic] lighting, included in class 11.”
Because VOLTA is a well-known registered trademark (nos 169084 and 175213 for car batteries and for industrial accumulators, the Examiner refused to allow the mark. Since the VOLTA mark for car batteries is for different goods in a different class, the Applicant appealed.
The Deputy Commissioner Ms Jaqueline Bracha ruled that whether or not the applicant was aware of the well-known mark for car batteries, allowing them to use the mark for lighting components would create confusion, since the public would associate the components with the car battery manufacturer.
The refusal was upheld.
I think the patent office got this one right. Volta is well-known for car batteries and use on other electrical goods could create an association or at least dilution of the mark. I did find one thing odd in the ruling though. Ms Bracha noted that to refuse the mark does not require inequitable conduct of the applicant, but the applicant did not explain the choice of the word satisfactorily. Volta was a pioneer of electricity and the unit of potential difference is named after him. I don’t think that choosing the name for branding electrical goods really require explanation. I doubt that Volta car batteries chose the name randomly either.