Tuesday, September 02, 2008

"DISPENSE-A-PILL" Merely Descriptive of Pill Dispenser, Says TTAB, Painlessly

In a terse six-page decision, the Board quickly dispensed with Applicant HealthOne Medical's hopeless appeal of a Section 2(e)(1) mere descriptiveness refusal of the mark DISPENSE-A-PILL for "machines, and cartridges sold in connection therewith, for dispensing pre-determined dosages of medication in pill and capsule form." In re HealthOne Medical Systems, Inc., Serial No. 78911013 (August 13, 2008) [not precedential].

Applicant did not deny that its machines dispense pills, nor did it dispute the descriptive significance of the individual words. The Board, however, found no incongruous or unique meaning in the combination.

Applicant argued that its device performs other functions in addition to dispensing pills, but of course that would not avoid a mere descriptiveness refusal, since a term need not describe all facets of a product to be merely descriptive thereof.

In short, the Board found that prospective consumers would readily perceive "the merely descriptive significance of DISPENSE-A-PILL as it pertains to applicant’s goods."

TTABlog comment: Would you have appealed this one? What would you have estimated the chances of success on appeal to be?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2008.


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