Friday, October 20, 2017

TTAB Test: Is BAZAAR HOME a Double Entendre, or Merely Descriptive of Retail Furniture Services?

The USPTO refused registration of the mark BAZAAR HOME, finding it merely descriptive of "Retail and online retail store services featuring furniture, home décor items, bedding and kitchenware." On appeal, applicant argued that BAZAAR HOME is a double entendre: it might refer to a very strange dwelling or a Middle-Eastern themed marketplace. How do you think this came out? In re Jeco, Inc., Serial No. 86972193 (October 18, 2017) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Anthony R. Masiello).

Examining Attorney Katherine S. Chang submitted dictionary definitions of BAZAAR (a marketplace of shopping quarter, especially in the Middle East) and HOME (a house, apartment, or other shelter), as well as five registrations for household goods in which the word HOME was disclaimed. According to the examining attorney, the combination creates no new commercial impression or incongruity, and no imagination is needed to understand the nature of the services.

As to applicant's double entendre argument, the Board noted that the mark must be considered in the context of applicant's services, and the impression created by the purported double entendre "must be sufficiently strong as to be appreciated in the context of Applicant's services."

We are not persuaded that the words BAZAAR HOME create a double entendre that the public would appreciate. Applicant has not shown that the public would think a “bazaar home” is a strangely designed dwelling or an eldercare facility that conducts charitable activities. These propositions are novel and irrelevant in the context of retail store services, and there is no reason to believe that they would occur to customers in a home products store.

The word "bazaar" has entered the English lexicon, and "its etymology does not create a double entendre any more than would patisserie for a bakery or bistro for a restaurant." And the similarity in sound between BAZAAR and "bizarre" is not relevant, since a similarity to an entirely different word, which is not part of the mark, does not alter the meaning of BAZAAR or of the mark as a whole.

In short, the Board saw no double entendre.

The Board concluded that the juxtaposition of BAZAAR and HOME does not alter the meaning of either term nor created an incongruity. Both words have a clear meaning in the context of a home products store. In the context of applicant's services, "one must strain the imagination to reach the alternative meanings that Applicant proposes." "The clear meaning of the mark as a whole would be immediately apparent without the exercise of 'imagination, thought, and perception to reach a conclusion about the nature of the ... services.'"

And so the Board affirmed the Section 2(e)(1) refusal.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog comment: How did you do?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2017.


At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Larry Miller said...

The argument with respect to word origins is misplaced. This is trademarks, not etymology. Of course a play on words can occur bewtween words of different origins--hence the concept of homphones and homonyms. I wonder how the board have ruled if the mark had been Bazaaro House or Bazaaro World!


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