Sunday, August 14, 2016

Stressless or Stress Less?

What’s the difference? Absolutely nothing! They both mean the exact same thing, which is to “create less stress” in your life.
However, there are many products and services, along with supportive trademarks, for each of the names. This of course creates confusion among consumers, which is what the trademarks are designed to do in the first place. A trademark protects your mark from other people using it and the criteria for infringement is simply: “Is the name they are using likely to create confusion among consumers”?
There are different categories and classes where you can trademark a name which means that there can be more than one Stressless or Stress Less product/service trademarked as long as they are clearly in different categories/classes. For instance, there is the Ekornes Stressless trademark Registered in 1983 # 1224287 in classes IC 020. US 032. G & S for Furniture-Namely, Adjustable Chairs. Ekornes filed another modified registration in 1999 for trademark # 2251731  IC 020. US 002 013 022 025 032 050. G & S for furniture, sofas, chairs, easy chairs with footstool; [ mattresses; pillows; beds; bedboards ]. And in 2008, they received another modified registration # 2251731 in International Class IC020 US 002 013 022 025 032 050 G&S for Furniture, chairs, seats, recliner chairs with footstools in class IC035 US 100 101 102. G&S for Retail outlet and store services in the field of furniture and furnishings. Design plus words, letters, and/or numbers below:
26.05.21 - Triangles that are completely or partially shaded
26.05.25 - Triangles with one or more curved sides
26.05.28 - Miscellaneous designs with overall triangular shape; Triangular shape (miscellaneous overall shape) Ekornes is a publically listed Norwegian company with these US trademarks.

As an example for potential confusion is another Stressless trademark Registration #3867652 by an Italian company in Class  IC 044 US 100 101 G&S for Medical services, hygienic and beauty care for human beings.
There are others using a Stressless trademark name and also the name Stress Less, so you can see that even without a mark being in the same class or category, it can be confusing.
It is very frustrating for the respective trademark owners who have to keep constant vigilance for violators or those who infringe on their registered trademarks. Some will intentionally use existing trademarked names to capitalize on the brand equity already built up in the trademarked name. This usually results in a “cease and desist” request from the trademark owner to the infringer who may or may not cooperate. This then leads to legal action which can result in expensive out of pocket costs/damages for the violator and unfortunately, the trademark owner also.
There are  small business owners who use trademarked names without checking the readily available trademark registration history located on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website ( This, of course, is no excuse and the violator runs the risk of having to pay legal fees, damages, and loss of existing inventory of the product/services being sold if they use an already existing trademark name in their product/service category/class.
Stress Less, Inc. has owned over 14 U.S. trademarked products and services since 1995 which requires a lot of monitoring for violators. We have issued over 300 “Cease and Desist” letters and have had to take many to court without losing one case. Trademark protection is a necessary time consuming and costly
Exercise since the word Stressless and Stress Less are very popular and attractive names and the use or misuse by non-trademark holders keep the lawyers busy.

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