TTAB Test: Is "CLETAXI" Merely Descriptive of Taxi Transport Services?
Anthony B. Rozier applied to register the mark CLETAXI for taxi transport services, but the USPTO refused registration, finding the mark merely descriptive of the services under Section 2(e)(1). Examining Attorney Laurie Mayes asserted that "CLE" is the airport code for Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, whence applicant plies his trade. Rozier argued that "a great deal of imagination, thought and perception" is required to reach any conclusion as to the nature of his services. How do you think this came out? In re Rozier, Serial No. 86005944 (March 5, 2015) [not precedential].
Applicant displays his mark as shown above, advertising that he will take customers to and from Hopkins, whose airport codes is indeed CLE. The Board found, based in part on applicant's display of the mark, that CLETAXI "immediately and directly informs purchasers about the nature of Applicant's services." See In re Cox Enterprises, Inc., 82 USPQ2d 1040 (TTAB 2007) (THEATL merely descriptive of magazines about Atlanta).[TTABlogged here].
As to applicant's argument about the difficulty in discerning the meaning of the mark, the Board noted that applicant did not explain just what multi-stage reasoning process would be required. He contended that "CLE" has a multiplicity of meanings, but the Board pointed out once again that the mark must be considered in the context of the nature of the goods. On this point, the Board rode with the examining attorney, who bluntly asserted: "[a]ttributing other meanings to CLE in the context of taxi transport services does not make sense."
Finally, the Board observed that even if applicant were the first and only user of the term for these services, the mark is still merely descriptive.
And so the Board affirmed the refusal.
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TTABlog note: Is this a WYHA? I wonder if an attorney gets CLE credit for using Mr. Rozier's taxi service?
Text Copyright John L. Welch 2015.