Friday, June 09, 2017

Precedential No. 14: TTAB Affirms Mere Descriptiveness Refusal of WELL LIVING LAB for Research Services

In a bit of a snoozer, the Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) refusal of the mark WELL LIVING LAB, finding it merely descriptive of scientific research services in the field of human health and wellness in indoor environments. Discounting applicant's largely outdated evidence that "well living" refers to leading a moral life, the Board instead relied on more current evidence employing the phrase to mean "health and wellness." In re Well Living Lab Inc., 122 USPQ2d 1777 (TTAB 2017) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Wolfson).

Beginning with "lab" - defined as a "room or building equipped for scientific experiments, research ...") the Board concluded that the term refers to the location where applicant's research services take place. At best, "lab" is merely descriptive, if not generic, for the services.

As to "well living," applicant provided definitions from the Oxford Dictionary with its final brief: for example, "the action or fact of leading a good life, especially with respect to moral virtue." The definitions included the comment that this sense of the term is "Now somewhat archaic." The Board gave this evidence some weight because some consumers may be aware of this meaning, but it found more probative Examining Attorney Chrisie Brightmire King's website evidence demonstrating that "well living" has essentially the same descriptive meaning as "health and wellness."

Combining the descriptive term "well living" with the non-distinctive term "lab" to form WELL LIVING LAB yields a phrase that is "no more than the sum of its parts:"

It immediately informs consumers of Applicant’s scientific research andproduct testing services about a feature or characteristic of the services, namely, that they involve research of products designed to improve a user’s health and wellness conducted in a laboratory environment. Accordingly, Applicant’s mark WELL LIVING LAB is merely descriptive of Applicant’s services.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog comment: Why is this precedential, may I ask? I think the footnotes are the most interesting parts of the decision.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2017.


At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the goods would be "a dog whose home is in a pit in the ground from which people get water."


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