TMEP 1209.03(b): Dictionary Listing

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1209.03(b)    Dictionary Listing

The fact that a term is not found in a dictionary is not controlling on the question of registrability if the examining attorney can show that the term has a well understood and recognized meaning. See In re Orleans Wines, Ltd., 196 USPQ 516 (TTAB 1977) (BREADSPRED held merely descriptive of jellies and jams); see also In re Gen’l Permanent Wave Corp., 118 F.2d 1020, 49 USPQ 184, 186 (C.C.P.A. 1941) ("Because appellant has combined two common English words, which in combination are not found in the dictionaries, is wholly immaterial.") (citation omitted).

Moreover, in terms of establishing a term’s likely meaning to consumers, evidence of the current usage may carry more weight than an older dictionary meaning. See In re Well Living Lab Inc., 122 USPQ2d 1777, 1781 (TTAB 2017) (finding modern-day usage of "well-living" more significant than archaic dictionary definition).