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Archived updates for Monday, February 06, 2006

SUPER Not Merely Descriptive for Vehicle Lights

In a decision that TTABlogger John Welch calls a "supershocker" the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board reversed a Section 2(e)(1) refusal to register the mark SUPER, finding it not merely descriptive of vehicle lights in In re Truck-Lite Co., Serial No. 76532510 (January 26, 2006) [not citable]. According to the decision,

. . . in general, if the word "super" in a mark is combined with the generic name of
the goods, or if the goods come in various grades or sizes, then the mark is
merely descriptive rather than suggestive.

In this case, the mark sought to be registered is simply SUPER; it is not combined with the generic name of the goods. Moreover, there is no evidence of record to suggest that lighting products for vehicles come in various sizes or grades, or that "super" has been used as a descriptive designator for vehicle lighting products.
We find that the mark SUPER, when applied to applicant’s goods, is suggestive and not merely descriptive. There is a certain ambiguity about the mark and no information about any quality or characteristic of the goods is conveyed with a degree of particularity. Some thought or imagination would be required on the part of prospective purchasers in order to perceive any significance of the mark as it relates to applicant’s goods.

"Thank goodness the decision is not citable," writes John.
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