TTAB Finds "ITICKETS" Generic for .... Guess What?
Agreeing with Examining Attorney Andrea Koyner Nadelman, the TTAB affirmed a refusal to register, on the ground of genericness, the term ITICKETS for "Arranging for ticket reservations for shows and other entertainment events; Entertainment ticket agency services; On-line admission ticket agency services for entertainment, educational, sporting and cultural events; On-line entertainment ticket agency services; Providing an Internet website portal featuring links to musical artist websites and music performance ticket information; Ticket agency services for entertainment events; Ticket reservation and booking services for entertainment, sporting and cultural events." Quoting In re Gould Paper, the Board found that the terms I and TICKET "remain as generic in the compound as individually, and the compound thus created is itself generic." In re Christian Happenings Acquisition Corp., Ltd., Serial No. 77926930 (January 25, 2013) [not precedential].
The Board deemed the genus to be defined by the services identified in the application, and further found "online ticket agency services and Internet ticket information services" to be the subset of the genus most relevant the question at hand.
The PTO met its evidentiary burden by providing clear evidence that Internet tickets and Internet ticket services are commonplace. The record showed that the terms "online" and "Internet" are interchangable, that "I" is a generic abbreviation for "Internet," and that the public is routinely exposed to the phrase "Internet ticket" in connection with ticket agency and information services.
We find that the prefix “I” and the word “ticket” retain these common meanings when telescoped into the compound word “ITICKET,” and that the public would readily understand ITICKET to refer to ticket services offered on the Internet. "In this instance, the terms remain as generic in the compound as individually, and the compound thus created is itself generic." In re Gould Paper, 5 USPQ2d at 1112.
The Board concluded that consumers would readily understand ITICKETS to identify ticket agency and information services provided over the Internet.
Applicant Christian Happenings pointed out that ITICKETS does not appear in dictionaries, and contended that the term has "its own exclusive meaning and serves as a source identifier for Applicant’s unique goods and services." The Board disagreed: applicant failed to show how "the common constituent terms are transformed to gain a new meaning in the term ITICKETS when used in association with the applied-for Internet ticket services."
Our primary reviewing court has emphasized that the test of genericness is not only whether the public would itself use this term to name this genus of services, "but also whether the relevant public would understand the term to be generic."
Applicant also maintained that ITICKETS is not generic because the term is used for other services in addition to Internet services: e.g., ticket sales by telephone and other outlets. However, the Board observed, it is well-settled that registration must be refused if the applied-for term is generic for any of the services in the application to register.
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Text Copyright John L. Welch 2013.