TMEP 1211.02(b)(i): Telephone Directory Listings

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1211.02(b)(i)    Telephone Directory Listings

Telephone directory listings from telephone books or electronic databases are one type of credible evidence of the surname significance of a term. In re Integrated Embedded, 120 USPQ2d 1504, 1507 (TTAB 2016) (evidence that more than 13,000 individuals in a number of locations throughout the U.S. bear the surname BARR establishes that it is a common enough surname that a substantial number of persons would be able to recognize its significance as a surname). The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has declined to hold that a minimum number of listings in telephone directories must be found to establish a prima facie showing that the mark is primarily merely a surname. See, e.g., In re Petrin Corp., 231 USPQ 902, 903 (TTAB 1986); In re Wickuler-Kupper-Brauerei KGaA, 221 USPQ 469, 470 (TTAB 1983).

It is the American public’s perception of a term that is determinative. Therefore, foreign telephone directory listings are not probative of the significance of a term to the purchasing public in the United States, regardless of whether the applicant is of foreign origin. See, e.g., Société Civile Des Domaines Dourthe Frères v. S.A. Consortium Vinicole De Bordeaux Et De La Gironde, 6 USPQ2d 1205, 1208 (TTAB 1988); In re Stromsholmens Mekaniska Verkstad AB, 228 USPQ 968, 969 (TTAB 1986); In re Wickuler-Kupper-Brauerei, 221 USPQ at 470 n.2.