Wednesday, December 20, 2006

TTAB Deems "SMART SENSOR" Merely Descriptive of Interactive Toys

Apparently recognizing that American consumers are not as dumb as they look, the Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) refusal of the mark SMART SENSOR, finding it merely descriptive of “interactive electric action toys.” In re Fong, Serial No. 78504723.

U.S. Patent No. 6,309,275
"Interactive Talking Dolls"
Peter Sui Lun Fong, co-inventor

Applicant Peter Sui Lun Fong argued that "smart" and "sensor" have multiple meanings, and therefore that the mark SMART SENSOR “does not communicate, without further analysis, a clear understanding of applicant’s goods.” Consequently, according to Mr. Fong, the mark is at most suggestive.

Examining Attorney David Collier asserted that “due to the prevalence of computer technology in daily life, consumers are accustomed to encountering technology-based terms and understanding the meaning thereof.” He submitted definitions of the component terms, Internet web pages and GOOGLE search results, and registrations owned by Applicant Fong and others in which “smart” and “sensor” are disclaimed.

The Board found Fong wrong, pointing out that it must consider the definitions “within the context of the goods for which registration is sought.” It ruled that the mark “merely describes the characteristic of interactive electronic action toys, namely that the toy features highly automated electronic controls that imitate human intelligence by receiving and responding to a signal or stimulus, i.e., a ‘smart sensor.’”

Consequently, the Board affirmed the refusal to register.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2006.


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