The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has refused an attempt by Behringer/MusicTribe to register a trademark for ‘Behringer Oberheim‘.
On Thursday, the USPTO published a ‘Notice Of Non-Final Action‘ that states that they are refusing the trademark application.
The USPTO determined that the term ‘Behringer Oberheim’ may falsely suggest a connection with Tom Oberheim. They note that, “Although the person is not connected with the goods provided by applicant under the applied-for mark, Tom Oberheim is so well-known that consumers would presume a connection.”
The refusal notes that “The evidence indicates that, due to his fame in the relevant electronic music instrument industry, the surname Oberheim uniquely and unmistakably points to Tom Oberheim and a connection with Tom Oberheim would be presumed when applicant’s mark is used on its goods.”
Behringer has previously announced plans to make inexpensive copies of the Oberheim DMX drum machine and the OB-Xa synthesizer. Photos of the ‘UB-Xa‘ prototype shows that Behringer plans to closely copy the original OB-Xa’s design and look, but modify the build to make it less expensive to manufacture.
Based on the company’s attempt to trademark ‘Oberheim’ and ‘OB-Xa’, it appears that they hoped to market their copy with the original’s look and name, similar to what they’ve done with knockoffs of the Octave The Cat and EDP Wasp synthesizers.
Behringer has six months to respond and contest the USPTO’s decision, or the application will be abandoned.