PTO Finally Refuses "THE TTABLOG" as Merely Descriptive; 2(f) Evidence Sought from Readers
On June 13, 2006, the USPTO issued a final refusal of the mark THE TTABLOG under Section 2(e)(1), maintaining that the mark is merely descriptive of "An online blog featuring commentary and information in the field of trademarks; an online blog featuring commentary and information regarding decisions of the Trademark Trial and Appeal and the courts relating to trademark law." (Application Serial No. 78669946).
For some reason, the PTO Examining Attorney was not impressed by my cogent, incisive, and downright pithy argument that a consumer/reader would not immediately grasp the meaning of the mark THE TTABLOG, but rather would have to excercise some thought and perception before recognizing the derivation of the mark
"Applicant does not dispute that the word “blog” and the acronym “TTAB” are descriptive of the identified services. However, Applicant submits that the telescoped combination of those two words in the term “TTABLOG” is sufficiently strange and unusual that it would cause a person to pause and to exercise some thought and perception in order to recognize the derivation of the term. What causes this hesitation is the fact that the acronym “TTAB” is pronounced by stating the individual letters T-T-A-B. Pronunciation of the word “blog,” however, does not being with the “bee” sound, but with a “soft” sound “buh.” Thus many people are unsure of how to pronounce the term TTABLOG -- and in fact, so is the undersigned, its creator. In presentations for the Boston Bar Association and the Midwest IP Institute, I have suggested jokingly that the pronunciation be something like this: “T-T-A-Bee-Bee-Buh-Buh-Blog.” Several people have approached me and asked me how to pronounce the term., and I tell them the same thing. The point is that the unusual spelling and pronunciation of the term causes persons to hesitate before pronouncing the mark, and it is this odd spelling that gives the mark its inherent distinctiveness -- both visually and aurally."
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think that overcoming the mere descriptiveness refusl would be an uphill battle. But, by gum, I definitely believe that the mark has acquired distinctiveness!
If you agree and are willing to say so, please send me an e-mail (email@example.com) or a letter identifying yourself and stating your experience/employment, and setting forth your view on the issue of whether THE TTABLOG functions as an indicator of source for the recited services. I intend to submit your message in my response/request for reconsideration.
Thank you, and good night.