Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Swiss company Rubimed AG ran into a Section 2(e)(1) roadblock in its attempt to register the mark PSYCHOSOMATIC ENERGETICS for educational materials and medical services in the field of naturopathy, empirical therapeutics, and holistic medicine. In re Rubimed AG, Serial No. 76213128 (December 29, 2004) [not citable]. The Board affirmed a refusal to register on the ground of mere descriptiveness.
The Examining Attorney relied on dictionary definitions of "psychosomatic" and "energetics," on NEXIS excerpts showing that "energetic medicine" is a field "involving the study of energy changes in relation to healing," and on Applicant'’s own advertising, in contending that the mark describes the subject matter and a significant feature of the goods/services: they "involve the use of energetic medicine to treat psychosomatic disorders."

Rubimed argued that the two words taken together have no readily understood meaning, that its goods and services "relate to the "patient's soul, not to the medical/psychiatric focus on the mind as the basis of healing," and that its services "are spiritual, not medical." The Board, however, noted that the subject application and Rubimed's own website refer to its "medical services." The Board ruled that the combination of the two words does not create an "incongruous or unique" mark: "relevant consumers will readily understand that applicant's goods and service focus on the energetic healing method and the mind/body connection."

The Board noted that, to prove a phrase merely descriptive, the Board need not "obtain evidence of all the words used together in order to make a prima facie showing that a multiple word mark is merely descriptive." In a footnote, it contrasted this situation with the case of a genericness refusal, as to which the PTO must prove that the phrase as a whole is in use. Thus
"even if Rubimed was the first (and/or only) entity to use the phrase 'psychosomatic energetics' in relation to printed materials and medical services, in the field of inter alia, holistic medicine, such is not dispositive where, as here, the phrase unquestionably projects a merely descriptive connotation."

Rubimed Ag -- Hergiswil, Switzerland

Text ©John L. Welch 2005. All Rights Reserved.


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