WYHA? TTAB Affirms Mere Descriptiveness Refusal of INTERNATIONAL AIR AND SPACE PROGRAM for Aero Space Conferences
In a four-page decision, the Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) refusal to register the mark INTERNATIONAL AIR AND SPACE PROGRAM for "organizing conferences and symposia in the field of aero space" [AIR AND SPACE PROGRAM disclaimed]. Would it be fair to say that any affirmance of a Section 2(e)(1) that runs five pages or less is presumptively a WYHA? Would You Have Appealed? In re Aexa Aerospace LLC, Serial No. 86181509 (February 19, 2015) [not precedential].
In light of the disclaimer, applicant focused its argument on the word "international," claiming that the word could have a variety of different meanings to consumers and therefore that some degree of imagination would be required to associate the term with applicant's services. That argument never took off because, as the Board pointed out, the mark must be considered not in the abstract but in the context of the services. Applicant's specimen of use described its services as "an international program for students," and so the Board agreed with Examining Attorney Matt Einstein that consumers will immediately recognize that the word "international" conveys information about applicant's services.
Moreover, the Board has in the past found marks incorporating the word "international" to be merely descriptive of services that are international in scope: for example, INTERNATIONAL BANKING INSTITUTE for organizing seminars for bankers from major countries, BILLFISH INTERNATIONAL COMPANY for services involving billfish on an international scale, and INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS CHEQUE for financial services of international scope.
Finally, the Board noted that the combination of INTERNATIONAL with AIR AND SPACE PROGRAM created no new meaning beyond that of the constituent terms.
And so the Board affirmed the refusal.
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TTABlog note: With cases like this, I could be a TTAB judge.
Text Copyright John L. Welch 2015.