Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TTAB Affirms Section 2(e)(2) Refusal of LAUGHLIN RANCH: Geographically Descriptive of Golf Courses and Spas

The Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(2) refusal of the mark LAUGHLIN RANCH, finding it to be primarily geographically descriptive of retail store services featuring golf products and apparel in Class 35; golf club services; golf courses in Class 41; restaurant and bar services; catering services in Class 43; and health spa services; hair salon services; hair styling and cutting services; manicure and pedicure services in Class 44. Applicant unsuccessfully maintained that, although the word LAUGHLIN is geographically descriptive, the entire mark is not. In re IMH LR Clubhouse, LLC, Serial No. 86338122 (April 13, 2017) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Goodman).

Applicant acknowledged that its services originate in Laughlin, Arizona and that LAUGHLIN is geographically descriptive of the services. Laughlin is a place generally known to the public [although it seems to be in Nevada, not Arizona].

Examining Attorney Karen K. Bush maintained that the addition of the descriptive term RANCH does not change the primary geographic significance of the term LAUGHLIN. Applicant contended, however, that RANCH "is not generic or so highly descriptive as to make the mark geographically descriptive overall."

Third-party web site evidence showed use of the term RANCH in connection with golf club, dining, spa services, and retail store services. The examining attorney asserted that RANCH is "a term of art that identifies resorts and communities located on large areas of land in which various activities, such as golfing, restaurants, spa services etc. are offered." The Board concluded from this evidence that RANCH is a "highly descriptive term" when used in connection with ranch-style resorts and communities that offer golf, dining, spa, and retail store services.

The Board then found that combining RANCH with LAUGHLIN does not detract from the geographical descriptiveness of the mark as a whole.

Finally, the Board observed that when the geographical significance of a term is its primary significance, and when the place is not obscure or remote, a services/place association in the minds of consumers may be presumed when the services emanate from that place. Laughlin, Nevada is the third largest gambling venue in Nevada and is a generally known geographical location, and so the Board presumed that a services/place association would be made.

The Board therefore affirmed the Section 2(e)(2) refusal.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog comment: The Examining Attorney had accepted applicant's 2(f) claim, and so the mark will proceed to publication under Section 2(f).

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2017.


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