C4 Versus 4C – Branding Too Close For Comfort?

My local BJ’s brochure advertised sales on these drink products:

I did a double take – were these the same brand or owned by the same company? Very similar names and colors.

Turns out they are different products owned by different companies. I investigated the trademark status of these names and found that they both are registered trademarks:

Both offer very similar products in the drink category (C4 has a powdered drink mix). They are registered in different International Classes, but the similarity of the marks is what is important and from a trademark standpoint C4 and 4C would be considered to be very similar.

I’m not questioning the trademark office, but I am questioning the management of C4. When they filed, they had to be aware of 4C (check the registration dates above). Why would you launch a product with a nearly identical name/branding to a competitor?

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