Wednesday, June 19, 2024

"ECOPRENEUR" Merely Descriptive of Environmental Awareness Software and Services, Says TTAB

The Board wasted little Time in upholding the USPTO's Section 2(e)(1) mere descriptiveness refusal of the proposed mark ECOPRENEUR for software and services relating to environmental awareness, including educational and research services. Applicant Time USA, Inc. feebly argued that the word "ecopreneur" does not appear in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, that it is merely suggestive because "understanding of the goods and services in connection with the Mark is not instantaneous,” but requires “several mental steps, and that the term is incongruous because it refers to a type of person, not to goods or services. In re Time USA, LLC, Serial No. 90493176 (June 17, 2024) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Michael B. Adlin).

Examining Attorney Salvatore Angotti submitted several dictionary definitions of "ecopreneur" (e.g., "an entrepreneur focused on creating and selling environmentally friendly products and services). Another reference stated "Ecopreneurs are entrepreneurs who have spotted opportunities in the environment to start businesses which supports sustainability." Various magazine article used the term in the same vein.

Based on this evidence, the Examining Attorney maintained that “ecopreneur” describes “the characteristics and intended audience of” Applicant’s goods and services," and specifically "people who are currently providing environmentally friendly businesses," "goods and services which can help providing environmentally friendly businesses," "goods and services which can help a person to become" an ecopreneur , and “people, businesses, and new business models" focused on environmental concerns. 

The Board had no doubt that ECOPRENEUR is merely descriptive "because it "immediately conveys knowledge of a quality, feature, function, or characteristic' of one or more of Applicant’s identified goods and services in each Class.: The Board observed that terms that describe the intended user or purchaser of a product or service are often found to be merely descriptive (e.g., SYSTEMS USER merely descriptive of a trade journal for systems users). Therefore, the Board found nothing incongruous about Applicant’s proposed mark.  

Furthermore, Applicant’s argument that the proposed mark is a “general term” and “so broad” that consumers would not know what the goods and services are misapprehends the applicable test. “The question is not whether someone presented with only the mark could guess what the goods or services are. Rather, the question is whether someone who knows what the goods or services are will understand the mark to convey information about them.” 

And so, the Board affirmed the refusal. 

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlogger comment: WYHA? PS: Mere descriptiveness as a "guessing game" is one of my top ten losing TTAB arguments.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2024.


Post a Comment

<< Home