Friday, March 14, 2014

Test Your TTAB Judge-Ability: Is the Initialism "ISCM" Merely Descriptive of These Monitoring Services?

Siemens filed an application to register the mark ISCM for business management services relating to the monitoring and analysis of the condition of electrical supply networks, but the USPTO refused registration on the ground of mere descriptiveness under Section 2(e)(1). The Examining Attorney maintained that ISCM is an acronym for "Integrated Supply Chain Management" which is the "coordinated management of the entire supply chain to improve efficiency and decrease costs." Siemens appealed. How do you think this came out? In re Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, Serial No. 79100971 (March 7, 2014) [not precedential].

To be merely descriptive of particular goods or services, an acronym must have a known meaning to relevant consumers, and that known meaning must be merely descriptive of those goods or services. Here, Siemens did not disagree that ISCM is an abbreviation for Integrated Supply Chain Management. Nor did Siemens dispute the meaning of that term.

Integrated supply chain management is the act of ensuring that your supplier provides the right items on schedule, built to the correct specifications, at the proper cost. This means that you, as the purchaser of the materials required to make your product, are the pivotal station within your supply chain.

Siemens services involve the monitoring of electric energy supply networks to ensure that the components are in good working order, not the coordination of the supply of goods or raw materials for the networks. "In other words, applicant's services do not involve insuring that suppliers provide the right goods on schedule, built to correct specifications, at the proper cost."

Therefore, the Board found that the initialism ISCM is not merely descriptive of the recited services and it reversed the refusal to register.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog note:  So how did you do?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2014.


At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Miriam Richter said...

I thought this was a pretty obvious WYHRI (Would you have rejected it case)? So my question is what does ISCM stand for in the context of electrical supply monitoring? I read the opinion and don't see that mentioned. Is it arbitrary or is it an acronym for something else? Shouldn't that have solved the issue during prosecution? Was there ever an issue of misdescriptiveness if ISCM is commonly know?


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