Thursday, February 09, 2012

WYHA? TTAB Affirms 2(d) Refusal of THE LEATHER + VINYL DOCTOR Over LEATHER & VINYL MD & Design

The USPTO issued a Section 2(d) refusal to register the mark THE LEATHER + VINYL DOCTOR for "furniture restoration, repair and maintenance" [LEATHER + VINYL disclaimed], finding it likely to cause confusion with the registered mark LEATHER & VINYL MD & Design for "leather and vinyl cleaning and repair services; upholstery cleaning and repair services" [LEATHER & VINYL disclaimed]. The TTAB affirmed. Would you have appealed? In re Leather and Vinyl Doctor, LLC, Serial No. 77853280 (January 24, 2012) [not precedential].

As to the services, Examining Attorney Cynthia Sloan submitted eleven third-party registrations that suggested that furniture restoration and upholstery cleaning are types of services that may emanate from a single source under a single mark. Internet excerpts also showed a close relationship between the involved services. In fact, the Board found the services to be so closely related as to be "legally identical."

Applicant lamely argued that "consumers interested in services of any kind are sophisticated and exercise a higher degree of purchaser care" [higher than what? - ed.], but the Board swept aside that [rather strange] assertion as unproven.

As to the marks, the Board not surprisingly found them to be very similar in sound and appearance, the same in connotation, and similar in commercial impression. Applicant's argument that MD may sometimes refer to the State of Maryland simply went nowhere. [The fact that the registered mark includes a drawing of a doctor didn't help with the Maryland argument].

And so the Board affirmed the refusal.

TTABlog comment: To me, the most surprising thing about the decision was its length: 23 pages. I think I could have done it in 22 pages, max.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2012.


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