TMEP 1202.04(a): General Information About the Goods or Services

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1202.04(a)    General Information About the Goods or Services

Matter that only conveys general information about the applicant’s identified goods or services, including highly laudatory claims of superiority, fails to function as a mark. This matter is not registrable because consumers would perceive it as imparting its ordinary meaning and not as serving to identify and distinguish the applicant’s goods or services from those of others and to indicate their source. See In re AOP LLC, 107 USPQ2d 1644, 1655 (TTAB 2013) (finding AOP merely informational and not source identifying for wine because it informs consumers of a certification process); In re Eagle Crest, Inc., 96 USPQ2d 1227, 1229 (TTAB 2010) ("Slogans and other terms that are considered to be merely informational in nature, or to be common laudatory phrases or statements that would ordinarily be used in business or in the particular trade or industry, are not registrable."); In re T.S. Designs, Inc., 95 USPQ2d 1669, 1671 (TTAB 2010) (finding CLOTHING FACTS to be informational matter and not a source identifier based on the likely consumer perception of the phrase as used on a clothing label reminiscent of the "Nutrition Facts" label for food products); In re Aerospace Optics, Inc., 78 USPQ2d 1861, 1864 (TTAB 2006) (finding SPECTRUM failed to function as a mark for illuminated pushbutton switches, because the mark was used in a manner that merely informed potential purchasers of the multiple color feature of the goods); In re Melville Corp., 228 USPQ 970, 972 (TTAB 1986) (describing the phrase BRAND NAMES FOR LESS as "a highly descriptive and informative slogan [that] should remain available for other persons or firms to use to describe the nature of their competitive services"); In re Schwauss, 217 USPQ 361, 362 (TTAB 1983) (finding FRAGILE for labels and bumper stickers merely informational and devoid of any source-identifying function because the term merely informed consumers of the fragility of the item to which the labels and stickers were attached); see also In re Boston Beer Co. L.P, 198 F.3d 1370, 53 USPQ2d 1056, 1058 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (finding the phrase THE BEST BEER IN AMERICA "so highly laudatory and descriptive of the qualities of its product that the slogan does not and could not function as a trademark"); In re Standard Oil Co., 275 F.2d 945, 947, 125 USPQ 227, 229 (C.C.P.A. 1960) (finding that GUARANTEED STARTING for servicing of motor vehicles to facilitate cold-weather operation "does no more than inform the public with reasonable accuracy what is being offered" and is not a service mark); In re Duvernoy & Sons, Inc., 212 F.2d 202, 204, 101 USPQ 288, 289 (C.C.P.A. 1954) (observing that CONSISTENTLY SUPERIOR is a laudatory statement of fact incapable of distinguishing the goods).

Any evidence demonstrating that the public perception of the matter is merely to convey general information about the goods or services supports this refusal. In addition to dictionary or encyclopedia entries showing the meaning or significance of wording, supporting evidence may include materials (e.g., website pages, social-media pages, product fact sheets, and other promotional materials) showing the wording listed with other features of the goods/services, showing the wording being used in a manner that does not stand out from other informational text, or showing the same or similar wording commonly used in business or by other providers of similar goods or services to impart the same kind of general information.