Test Your TTAB Judge-Ability: Is "MONSTER" Merely Descriptive of Automotive Accessories?
Monster Cable filed an ITU application to register the mark MONSTER for various automotive and truck accessories, including suspension struts and truck bed liners, but Examining Attorney Steven W. Jackson found the mark to be merely descriptive and refused registration under Section 2(e)(1). Application argued (1) that just because there is a vehicle called a "monster truck" does not mean that "monster" is descriptive of automotive accessories, (2) that "monster" per se has no direct relationship with automotive accessories, and (3) because average consumers do not drive monster trucks, the word "monster" does not directly describe automotive accessories. How would you rule? In re Monster Cable Products, Inc., Serial No. 78348832 (January 24, 2011) [not precedential].
The Board affirmed the refusal in a terse, 10-page decision.
It pointed out that whether a term is descriptive or not is determined in the context of the goods, not in a vacuum: the question is not whether one presented with the mark could guess what the goods are, but whether someone who knows what the goods are will immediately understand the mark as conveying information about the goods.
The Board observed once again that a mark need not describe all the goods in the application for the subject mark to be merely descriptive: even one will do. Here, the application includes "suspension struts," and consumers "will immediately perceive MONSTER brand suspension struts as being for monster trucks." Likewise for truck steps and truck bed liners.
And so the Board affirmed the refusal.
TTABlog comment: I think this case could have been added to the WYHA (Would You Have Appealed?) folder, don't you?
Text Copyright John L. Welch 2011.