Wednesday, January 27, 2021

In 2020, How Often Did the TTAB Affirm Section 2(e)(1) Mere Descriptiveness Refusals?

I have again reviewed the TTAB's FOIA pages (now called the "TTAB Reading Room") in an attempt to estimate the percentage of Section 2(e)(1) mere descriptiveness refusals that were affirmed by the Board during the last calendar year (2020). I counted 83 refusals, of which 73 were affirmed and 10 reversed. That's an affirmance rate of about 88%, a five-point drop from last year's 93.93%. 

Only one of the mere descriptiveness reversals was precedential: namely, the CO-OP case [TTABlogged here].

Here is a list of the 10 proposed marks (with application serial numbers) involved in the Section 2(e)(1) mere descriptiveness reversals:

  • ORIGINAL GRAIN (87511343) 
  • ARTIZEN (87770413) 
  • FETAL LIFE (87938891) 
  • MOBILIZER (87717065) 
  • LEDGERDOMAIN (87159899) 
  • MINKY COUTURE (87589711) 
  • ONE WORLD COMMONS (88005756) 
  • ONE TEAM CARE (88149951) 
  • CO-OP (Precedential) (87186780) 
  • TRANSLUCENT SKIN (88243196)


Nearly all of these reversals found their way into a TTABlog post. You may find a particular post by putting the mark into the search engine box.

How does this compare with past years? Here's a bar chart (again prepared by the incomparable Francesca ("Frankie") Householder), covering the last eight years:

Click on picture for larger, clearer image.
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Will the downward trend continue? I doubt it.


Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog comment: A more detailed analysis might show how often a "double entendre" argument is successful. Not often, I suspect. But it worked for Marty Schwimmer in the LEDGERDOMAIN case (here).

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2021.

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