Monday, June 22, 2015

WYHA? TTAB Affirms Mere Descriptiveness Refusal of MORINGA SKIN for Body Lotions

The Board, in a three-page opinion, affirmed the USPTO's refusal to register the mark MORINGA SKIN for "lotions for face and body care containing moringa" [MORINGA disclaimed], finding it to be merely descriptive of the goods. The evidence established that moringa oil, derived from the seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree, has many uses, including uses in the skin care industry. In re j. debeaute, Serial No. 85967716 (June 18, 2015) [not precedential].

Applicant feebly contended that MORINGA SKIN is suggestive rather than descriptive because it is not clear whether the phrase revers to the skin of a person or the skin of a moringa fruit: "It takes some thought to realize that applicant's lotions contain moringa extracts and are used for the skin."

The Board pointed out once again that the determination of mere descriptiveness is not a guessing game. The mark must be considered in the context of the identified goods.

The question, however, "'is not whether someone presented with only the mark could guess what the goods or services are. Rather, the question is whether someone who knows what the goods and services are will understand the mark to convey information about them.'"

The Board concluded that a consumer of lotions would readily recognize the MORINGA SKIN immediately conveys information about the goods: they are skin-care products containing moringa. Therefore the mark is merely descriptive of applicant's goods.

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TTABlog note: Well, would you have?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2015.


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