Wednesday, December 09, 2015

WYHA? TTAB Finds MULTI-BINGO Merely Descriptive of Gaming Devices

The Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) refusal to register the mark MULTI-BINGO, finding it to be merely descriptive of gaming machines, bingo machines, and the related software, firmware and gaming equipment "sold or leased to owners or operators of gambling places." On appeal, Applicant argued unsuccessfully that the mark is merely suggestive, since it does not appear in dictionaries and could have various meanings. Would You Have Appealed? In re Xylomen Participations, S.à r.l., Serial No. 86024542 (November 19, 2015) [not precedential].

Dictionary definitions of "multi" and "bingo" were sufficient to show that the combined term MULTI-BINGO immediately conveys to owners and operators of gambling facilities that Applicant's goods allow players to play multiple, simultaneous, bingo games. That fact that "multi-bingo" is not found in a dictionary is "not controlling." The question is whether the merely descriptive components retain their merely descriptive meaning when combined. The Board answered that question in the affirmative.

Examining Attorney Daniel S. Stringer also made of record several webpages showing use of the terms "multi and multiple" to describe bingo games, machines, or game rooms where a single player may play multiple games of bingo at once. This evidence corroborated the dictionary evidence in establishing that the subject mark immediately conveys information about this feature of Applicant's goods.

Applicant feebly contended that "multi bingo" could have many different meanings and was too vague to be merely descriptive. The Board, however, concluded that "multi" is "not so broad as to require mature thought to discern the nature of the goods." There is a readily recognizable connection between the mark and applicant's goods. Moreover, the alternate meanings that Applicant proposed -  more than one person can play, more than one game can be played on the same card, or more than one bet may be place or prize awarded - all describe possible features of Applicant's goods.

Moreover, Applicant's identified customers are "owners or operators of gambling places" and therefore sophisticated purchasers who are likely to be aware of the features of various gambling machines, including multiple play options.

The Board concluded that the mark MULTI-BINGO immediately apprises consumers of a central aspect of the goods, namely, that they allow players to play multiple games of bingo at the same time.

The Board therefore affirmed the refusal.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog comment: Well, would you have?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2015.


Post a Comment

<< Home