Friday, February 10, 2006

TTAB Suspends "THE LAST BEST PLACE" Oppositions

The Board has suspended until October 1, 2006, two oppositions involving the mark THE LAST BEST PLACE. (Oppositions Nos. 91166060 and 91167193). The Montana State Department of Commerce filed the oppositions against The Last Best Beef, LLC, claiming that the mark is primarily geographically descriptive under Section 2(e)(1).

Opposer claims that, following the use of the phrase as the title of an anthology about the State, THE LAST BEST PLACE has become synonymous with the State of Montana and has been used "innumerable times" by Opposer, by other state agencies, and by the public to describe and promote the State.

Answering the oppositions, Applicant denied the salient allegations and included the following rather strange affirmative defense: "Opposer is barred from maintaining this opposition under the doctrine of acquiescence, as Opposer has failed to take action against third party registrations comprised in dominant part of 'Montana' (i.e., the State's name) and 'Big Sky' (i.e., the State's nickname).

The Board suspended the proceedings on January 6, 2006, "[c]onsistent with the Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-108, Sec. 206, 119 Stat. 2290, 2314." Section 206 reads as follows:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no funds appropriated under this Act shall be used to register, issue, transfer, or enforce any trademark of the phrase 'Last Best Place.'"

Also on January 6, 2006, the USPTO cancelled two registrations that issued to The Last Best Beef LLC on November 22, 2005 (the day the Appropriations Act was signed into law), purportedly in accordance with the Act. And four other applications owned by the Applicant have been suspended under the same authority.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2006.


Post a Comment

<< Home