The Gap Band’s Ronnie J. Wilson (who founded the group with his brothers Charlie and Robert) filed a trademark in July 2015 for “Gap Band” in classes 25 (clothing, “namely, hats, t-shirts, and sweatshirts for sale at live music performances, live music concerts, live music shows and personal appearances”) and 41 (entertainment services). The trademark was published in July 2016.
Gap’s notice of opposition, filed on January 23, states that Wilson’s mark “will damage [the Gap] by trading on the enormous goodwill associated with its mark and diluting its distinctiveness.” It also claims that the two trademarks are “confusingly similar in sight, sound, and commercial impressions; notably, [Wilson’s trademark] incorporates [Gap’s] ‘GAP’ mark in its entirety.”The retailer also notes that it owns 15 previously registered marks, some of which have been in use since 1969. Wilson’s trademark application states that the musical group started using the Gap Band trademark on April 1, 1967. Gap’s opposition counters that origination date, stating that the group did not start using the name “The Gap Band” until the mid-1970s.
Gap’s opposition cites the 2011 federal district court decision in Gap, Inc. v. G.A.P. Adventures, Inc. in which the retailer was identified as “one of the most famous and recognizable brands in the United States.” It also cites a 2008 opposition that determined that Gap’s “famous” trademarks are “entitled to a broad scope of protection.”
Remember this hit from The Gap Band? (Warning: It’s guaranteed to get stuck in your head all day . . .)