Christian Faith Fellowship Church v. Adidas AG, No. 16-1296 (Fed. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2005, the Church, within five miles of the Illinois–Wisconsin border, began selling caps and shirts, emblazoned with the phrase “ADD A ZERO” as part of a fundraising campaign. The Church obtained two federal trademarks for the “ADD A ZERO” mark, based on actual use of the marks in commerce, not intent to use the marks in commerce. In 2009, Adidas sought a clothing trademark for the phrase “ADIZERO.” The Trademark Office refused the application for likelihood of confusion with the Church’s “ADD A ZERO” marks. Adidas brought an action; the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled the marks, based on the Church’s failure to use the marks in commerce before registration. The Board considered the Church’s proffered evidence of a cancelled check with a printed Wisconsin address for the sale of two “ADD A ZERO”-marked hats for $38.34 in February 2005, before the Church applied for its marks, but concluded that the “de minimis” sale did not evidence the requisite “use in commerce” under the Lanham Act. The Federal Circuit reversed. The Lanham Act defines commerce as all activity regulable by Congress; the Church’s sale to an out-of-state resident fell within Congress’s power to regulate under the Commerce Clause.