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The Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a lower ruling in favor of a cosmetics company that contended a competitor was unfairly using the name of its tattooing ink. The unanimous decision set aside a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for Lasting Impressions, which had sued KP Permanent Make-up alleging trademark infringement over ink used to give women permanent lipstick, eyebrow color and even beauty marks. Both companies wanted to call their product “micro color.” KP, which began using the name in 1980, contended that micro color is the known, descriptive term for permanent make-up. But the appeals court ruled that KP had not met a burden of showing there was no likelihood whatsoever of consumer confusion. An opinion by Justice David H. Souter said the appeals court had imposed an unfair burden on KP. The proper standard, he said, was to require Lasting Impressions as the plaintiff to show likely confusion. The case is KP Permanent Make-up Inc. v. Lasting Impressions, 03-409. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed.

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