Thursday, November 14, 2013

Divided TTAB Panel Finds NEIGHBORHOOD RADIO Generic for ... Guess What?

A divided panel of the TTAB affirmed a refusal to register, on the Supplemental Register, the applied-for mark NEIGHBORHOOD RADIO, finding it to be generic for “radio broadcasting of information and other programs” [RADIO disclaimed]. Judge Masiello filed a terse dissent. In re Sounds Good Broadcast Consultants, Inc., Serial No. 77885449 (October 29, 2013) [not precedential].

The Board found the genus of services to be identified by applicant’s recitation of services. The question, then, was whether the relevant consuming public – ordinary consumers who listen to “radio broadcasting of information and other programs” – understands the term NEIGHBORHOOD RADIO to identify a type of radio broadcasting service.

The panel majority concluded that the Examining Attorney William T. Verhosek had established the term’s genericness by the required clear evidence, consisting of applicant’s own specimen of use, third-party Internet pages, and several Lexis/Nexis articles.

Applicant’s own use of the term NEIGHBORHOOD RADIO (e.g., “your community radio station”) and the third-party uses (e.g., “Start Your Very Own Neighborhood Radio Station!”; “FCC Supports Neighborhood Radio”: “How to create and run your own neighborhood radio network”) demonstrate that the public understands that NEIGHBORHOOD RADIO is generic for “radio broadcasting of information and other programs.”

Judge Masiello dissented, briefly: “I do not believe the examining attorney has met his burden of demonstrating by clear evidence that the expression NEIGHBORHOOD RADIO is generic."

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog comment: I didn’t find the evidence all that convincing either. What do you think?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2013.


At 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is this different than "Midwest Radio" or "Montana Radio"? Both of those would be allowed on the SR.

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, once again, TTAB tacitly sanctions Examining Attorney laziness and ignores the meaning of the legal standard - "clear and convincing," which for the TTAB means "existing and possibly persuasive"

At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently, some folks don't understand the difference between geographically descriptive wording (such as Montana radio) and generic wording, while others have either: a) never worked as an examining attorney or b) are unfamiliar with the amount of evidence that has sustained generic refusals in the recent past.


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