Thursday, December 18, 2008

TTAB Finds "PUCK" Merely Descriptive of Hockey Puck-shaped Security Tags

The Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) refusal of the mark PUCK, finding it merely descriptive of "theft deterrent devices and anti-shoplifting devices, namely, electronic article surveillance tags embodying electronic microcircuits." Examining Attorney Michael W. Baird successfully maintained that consumers would perceive the word PUCK as indicating a feature of the goods, namely, "that they are offered in the general size and shape of a hockey puck." In re Invue Security Products Inc., Serial No. 77006342 (December 8, 2008) [not precedential].

The PTO relied on Internet articles and advertisements showing similar security devices - even some offered at applicant's website - in the size and shape of a hockey puck.

Applicant argued that PUCK merely suggests that Applicant's devices are "strong and durable like a hockey puck," but that shot missed the goal. The Board found it clear that consumers would not need to exercise any imagination in perceiving PUCK as referring to a feature of Applicant's product.

The Board observed that a mark that describes the shape or size of the goods may be considered merely descriptive: e.g., MATCHBOX for toys sold in matchbox-like boxes; TOOBS for household items shape like tubes. It concluded that others in the industry would have a need to use the word PUCK to describe their goods. Pointing to a design patent that claimed "the ornamental design for a security puck," the Board noted that PUCK may even be generic for the goods.

It therefore affirmed the refusal.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2008.


Post a Comment

<< Home