Monday, November 12, 2007

Precedential No. 63: "Park Trailers" Sufficiently Definite for Identification of Goods

The Board reversed a refusal to register the mark CHATEAU RESORT for "park trailers," ruling that the the term "park trailers" is sufficiently definite to satisfy Lanham Act Section 1(b)(2). In re Thor Tech, Inc., 85 USPQ2d 1474 (TTAB 2007) [precedential].

Section 1(b)(2) requires that an application "include specification ... of the goods." Applicant Thor Tech filed two applications identifying its goods as "park trailers." In each case, an office action required amendment of the identification, contending that "park trailers" was overly broad. Applicant responded similarly in each case. One Examining Attorney accepted the original identification, and that application issued to registration [for the mark CITATION RESORT, specimen of use shown above)]. The other Examining Attorney (here) continued the requirement.

Thor Tech submitted excerpts from third-party publications, an industry association webpage, and copies of state laws, in showing that "'park trailers' is a term of art readily understood by the consuming public to indicate a type of recreational vehicle." Applicant also submitted copies of four trademark registrations that include the term "park trailers" in their identifications of goods.

The Examining Attorney argued that park trailers "may be used as travel trailers or as mobile homes" and that because travel trailers fall in class 12 and mobile homes in class 19, the term "park trailers" is "insufficient to allow proper classification."

The Board referred to TMEP Section 1402.1(a) in pointing out that the USPTO has discretion regarding the degree of particularity needed in order to clearly identify the goods in an application. That discretion is exercised within certain parameters: the identification will be acceptable if it (1) describes the goods "so that an English speaker could understand what the goods ... are, even if the grammar or phrasing is not optimal," (2) meets the standards (not necessarily the language) of the Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual, (3) is not a class heading, and (4) is in the correct class.

The Board sided with Thor Tech, concluding that Applicant's evidence showed "park trailer" to be known in the field and to consumers as a designation for a type of recreational vehicle. A "mobile home," on the other hand, is defined as a large trailer that can be installed on a relatively permanent site and that is used as a residence. The definition does not refer to a mobile home as a "vehicle," whereas park trailers are always referred to as recreational vehicles; moreover, they are not considered to be primary residences. Consequently, the Board ruled that the term "park trailers" is sufficiently definite for application purposes.

Finally, the Board distinguished this case from the recent OMEGA decision (TTABlogged here), in which the term "chronographs," as conceded by that applicant, encompassed goods in two classes.

The Board therefore reversed the refusal to register.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2007.


Post a Comment

<< Home