My Ridiculous Trademark Opposition of the Week series is revived thanks to the pharmacy/drug store that somehow manages to thrive on every street corner in America despite being wildly expensive and having shoddier service than almost any other retail outlet known to man. Yes, I’m talking about good old ubiquitous Walgreens, which is apparently everyone’s favorite place to shop judging by the sheer number of stores located across the nation. Seriously, there are over 35 Walgreens within a 15 mile radius from my house. I guess there must be a lot of people out there who enjoy spending at least 10% more than they would for the same products found at Walmart, Target, or Kmart. Maybe they just enjoy maneuvering through the cramped aisles while searching for this year’s new Chia Pet or whatever “As Seen on TV” crap they saw on TV.
Anyway, Walgreens owns a trademark registration for the script version of its WALGREENS mark (see photograph of store above), as well as a registration for the stylized W by itself. Both of these registrations are for “retail drug store and general consumer merchandise services.” I am assuming that all of you have been inside a Walgreens before, but in the event you live on the top of Mount Rushmore (a “coming soon” location), go take a look at Walgreens’ website.
Now, if you happen to be from the Northeast, you may be familiar with a regional grocery store chain called Wegmans. Wegmans would be considered by most to be a high-end supermarket that features everyday grocery items, but is better known for its ready-prepared foods, high quality produce and meats, and exotic niche products that aren’t offered in a typical supermarket (not to mention a Walgreens). The first Wegmans store opened in 1930 in Rochester, NY and the company currently boasts nearly 80 stores spread over five states. I actually patronized a Wegmans in Rochester about ten years ago and, let me tell you, it was pretty darn impressive. You can learn more about how awesome Wegmans is by visiting its website.
For many years, Wegmans was using its trademark in the font style depicted in the photograph below:
In 2008, Wegmans decided to update and change the font style to the script design illustrated below:
On May 13, 2010 (which is almost two years after Wegmans first started using the trademark), Wegmans filed a trademark application seeking registration of the above mark for “retail grocery stores; retail stores featuring alcoholic beverages.” The Trademark Office allowed the application and it was published for opposition on September 28. But a mere 24 hours before the opposition period was set to expire, Walgreens filed a Notice of Opposition against Wegmans’ application alleging that the script design of the WEGMANS mark was likely to cause confusion with the script version of its own WALGREENS mark. On that same day, Walgreens also filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against Wegmans.
Because a picture is worth a thousand words, here are the two trademarks shown together:
Is Walgreens off its rocker? If you want my opinion, this is pretty nuts considering that the only resemblance between the two marks is the fact that both are presented in cursive. Other than that, I see nothing even remotely similar between the two. The actual fonts are clearly different and the “W” in each mark is distinct from one another. Maybe I just wasn’t blessed with an eye for these kinds of things. Or, perhaps Walgreens just has too much time and money to spend on nonsense. You know, gotten too fat and happy on selling overpriced toothpaste. As always, I’ll let you be the judge.