TMEP 1209.03(q): Source or Provider of Goods or Services

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1209.03(q)    Source or Provider of Goods or Services

Terms that identify the source or provider of a product or service may be merely descriptive under 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(1) or generic. See, e.g., In re Wm. B. Coleman Co., Inc., 93 USPQ2d 2019, 2027 (TTAB 2010) (ELECTRIC CANDLE COMPANY for lighting fixtures “incapable of identifying source for electric candles because it is a term a purchaser would understand and could use to refer to the type of company that sells electric candles, and must be left available for use by other such companies selling electric candles”); In re Major League Umpires, 60 USPQ2d 1059 (TTAB 2001) (MAJOR LEAGUE UMPIRE merely descriptive of clothing, face masks, chest protectors, and shin guards); In re Taylor & Francis [Publishers] Inc., 55 USPQ2d 1213 (TTAB 2000) (PSYCHOLOGY PRESS merely descriptive of books in the field of psychology); In re The Paint Products Co., 8 USPQ2d 1863 (TTAB 1988) (PAINT PRODUCTS COMPANY incapable for paint); In re The Phone Co., Inc., 218 USPQ 1027 (TTAB 1983) (THE PHONE COMPANY merely descriptive of telephones). See also In re Omaha Nat’l Bank, 819 F.2d 1117, 1119, 2 USPQ2d 1859, 1861 (Fed. Cir. 1987) (rejecting argument that descriptiveness should be limited to a quality or characteristic of the good or service itself and holding that it includes a designation descriptive of the service provider); cf. In re Chamber of Commerce of the U.S., 675 F.3d 1297, 1301-02, 102 USPQ2d 1217, 1220 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (NATIONAL CHAMBER held descriptive of “traditional chambers of commerce activities” of “promoting the interests of businessmen and businesswomen”).