Norwood's objection filed with the USPTO is pretty lengthy and broad. However at the very end there is a specific area that makes claims to your question:
Defendant’s application appears to be an obvious attempt to extort the goodwill
established by Plaintiff and/or an attempt to trick the consuming public into believing that its
goods are the same as or sponsored by Plaintiff.
30. As such, the registration of Defendant’s NECK TIE KOOLIES Application is likely to cause confusion, mistake and/or deception among consumers as to the source of each
party’s services in violation of 15 U.S.C.§1052(d).
31. Additionally, registration of Defendant’s NECK TIE KOOLIES Application will
cause consumers to infer the existence of an affiliation, connection or association between the parties when none exists. Accordingly, Plaintiff respectfully XXXXX XXXXX this Opposition be sustained and that
Defendant’s NECK TIE KOOLIES Application
The ridiculous thing is the actual product is called a koozie by several major website, dozens of other start ups, and most people. I bet if you asked 1000 people what company makes koozies they wouldn't have a specific answer just the fact you can buy them at various locations. We never even heard of these people until we received a letter.
It seems it would be a long costly battle to use "koozie" but is there any merit to the fact that the USPTO already said "Koolies" is generic and couldn't be claimed, and only issued us the trademark when using the entire phrase? Seems if its generic and anyone can use it then we should be fine in doing so?