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Non-Traditional Marks. Sharon Marsh Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Policy Cynthia C. Lynch Administrator for Trademark Policy & Procedure January 22, 2013. Product Design . RN 3646331 for costume helmets and collectible toy helmets. Product Packaging. RN 1858741 for

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Non traditional marks

Non-Traditional Marks

Sharon Marsh

Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Policy

Cynthia C. Lynch

Administrator for Trademark Policy & Procedure

January 22, 2013

Product design
Product Design

  • RN 3646331 for costume helmets and collectible toy helmets

Product packaging
Product Packaging

RN 1858741 for

edible oil in liquid


Three dimensional marks product design or packaging
Three-Dimensional Marks: Product Design or Packaging


  • Patents

  • Advertising

  • Alternative designs

  • Relative cost to manufacture

Product design functionality
Product Design Functionality

In re Becton, Dickinson & Co., 675 F.3d 1368, 102 USPQ2d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2012)

  • Design of closure cap for blood-collection tubes

  • Functionality refusal affirmed

  • Assessed overall design

  • Utility patent & ads touting utilitarian advantages

  • Dissent – majority addressed individual elements rather than mark as a whole; design patents & alternative designs weigh against functionality

Three dimensional marks product design
Three-Dimensional Marks: Product Design


Product Design – never inherently distinctive, per Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Bros., 529 U.S. 205, 213-216 (2000)

  • Heavy burden to establish distinctiveness

Product design quiz non functional distinctive
Product Design Quiz: Non-Functional & Distinctive?

  • In re Hershey Chocolate and Confectionary Corp., Serial No. 77809223 (June 28, 2012) [not precedential]

  • Configuration of a candy bar with 12 equally-sized recessed rectangular panels arranged in a four panel by three panel format with each panel having its own raised border within a large rectangle

Packaging inherently distinctive seabrook test
Packaging: Inherently Distinctive? Seabrook Test

(1) a “common” basic shape or design;

(2) unique or unusual in a particular field;

(3) a mere refinement of a commonly adopted and well-known form of ornamentation for a particular class of goods viewed by the public as a dress or ornamentation for the goods; or

(4) capable of creating a commercial impression distinct from the accompanying words.

Three dimensional marks product packaging
Three-Dimensional Marks: Product Packaging

In re The Procter & Gamble Co., 105 USPQ2d 1119 (TTAB 2012)

  • Refusal for lack of distinctiveness reversed

  • Design of mouthwash

    Bottle cap deemed

    inherently distinctive

Three dimensional marks product packaging1
Three Dimensional Marks:Product Packaging

Color marks
Color Marks

  • Marks that consist solely of one or more colors used on particular objects or substances can serve as trademarks, per Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Prods. Co., 514 U.S. 159, 161 (1995)

  • Usually perceived as an ornamental feature of the goods or services

  • Never inherently distinctive, per Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Bros., 529 U.S. 205, 211-12 (2000)

  • Can also be functional

Color marks1
Color Marks

  • RN 2359351 for a variety of goods/services, including jewelry and retail

    store services

Color marks2
Color Marks

Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent America Inc ., 696 F.3d 206 (2nd Cir. 2012)

  • Reversed district court holding that a single color can never serve as a trademark in the fashion industry

Color marks louboutin cont d
Color Marks – Louboutin cont’d

  • Louboutin’s mark has acquired “limited” secondary meaning – registration to be amended

  • Affirmed denial of preliminary injunction against YSL’s use of red sole on red monochrome shoe

Sound marks
Sound Marks

  • Identify and distinguish a product or service through audio rather than visual means

  • For broadcasting of

    television programs

  • For films and

    entertainment services

Sound marks1
Sound Marks

In re Powermat Inc. (TTAB Jan. 18, 2013)

  • Sound mark for battery chargers

  • “The mark consists of five short electronic chirps, lasting less than half a second, with each chirp increasing slightly in pitch from the previous chirp.”

  • The chirps occur when a product is placed in or removed from the battery charger

Trade dress service marks
Trade Dress Service Marks

  • RN 4021593 for Retail store services featuring computers, computer software, computer

    peripherals and

    consumer electronics,

    and demonstration of

    products relating


Trade dress service marks1
Trade Dress Service Marks

In re Chevron Intellectual Property Group LLC, 96 USPQ2d 2026 (TTAB 2010)

  • Mark for “vehicle service station services and automobile maintenance and repair services”

Tactile marks
Tactile Marks

  • RN 3348363 for perfumes; colognes; and eau de toilette

  • Mark description includes"pebble-grain" texture and rubberized "soft-touch" feel.

Tactile marks1
Tactile Marks

  • RNs 3495230 and 3495229 for entertainment services and clothing

  • The mark consists of the wording "STEVIE WONDER" in Braille code and the corresponding raised dots

Motion marks
Motion Marks

SN 3972865

for Telephony

communication services

Scent marks
Scent Marks

  • Strawberry and grape scents registered on the Supplemental Register for lubricants for land vehicles and watercraft (RN 2596196 & 2568512)

  • Peppermint scent registered on the Supplemental Register for office supplies (RN 3140700)