Tuesday, August 14, 2018

WYHA? LYNKD Merely Descriptive of Security Devices Controllable by Mobile Phone, Says TTAB

In a six-page decision, the Board affirmed a Section 2(e)(1) refusal to register the mark LYNKD, finding it merely descriptive of electronic monitoring and safety devices controllable by mobile phone, and related software. Applicant's own website stated that "using your smartphone . . . you can LYNK anything!" In re RPH Engineering, LLC, Serial No. 87166080 (August 9, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Susan J. Hightower).

Examining Attorney Jeffrey S. DeFord relied on a dictionary definition of "linked" (Connected, especially by or as if by links) and on printouts from applicant's website. Applicant did not dispute that its goods are "linked," the phonetic equivalent of LYNKD, but argued that this is not a significant feature; rather it is "merely an expected feature of technology device[s] in the age of the Internet of things." The Board was not impressed.

Essentially, Applicant contends that LYNKD is not merely descriptive of its goods because many other goods also are "linked.” This argument is unpersuasive. It is clear from the description of goods that linkage to mobile devices enabling remote control is a key feature and function of Applicant’s electronic monitoring and security devices. Whether other goods share this feature and function is not dispositive. Indeed, Applicant’s argument underscores the fact that registration would be inconsistent with the rights of competitors to use the term "linked" in marketing their own goods

That a word describing a feature of applicant's goods may also describe other goods does not make the word less descriptive. Furthermore, a term may be descriptive even if it does not describe the full scope and extent of the goods; it need describe only a single future or attribute.

Finally, applicant feebly contended that "LYNKD is a very broad term which could include many categories of goods." The Board pointed out once again that mere descriptiveness is not a guessing game; one must consider the mark in the context of the identified goods, not in the abstract.

The Board found that LYNKD immediately conveys information about the features and functions of applicant's goods. Therefore the Board affirmed the refusal.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog comment: Well, would you have appealed?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2018.


At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Jon said...

[After giving the appropriate warnings and disclaimers regarding risk] Absolutely. First, "Link" or "Linked" describes an inherent condition in most modern electronics. There must be something more than vague, nebulous connection between the term and the actual goods/services described in the application. In this case, that term does not provide any specific information regarding the nature or function of Applicant's security products.

Second, consumers viewing LYNKD with a "Y" and a "D" (rather than -ed) are not going to view it as a descriptive term. This is one example of where phonetic equivalence misses the mark. Most consumers will read the mark, rather than hearing it. Those that hear it would need to make a series of mental leaps to arrive at any specific information regarding applicant's products.


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