Examining Attorney Sally Shih submitted dictionary definitions of “skeeter” (a mosquito) and “band” (a flat, narrow band o material that you put around something), and several third-party registrations in which “skeeter” or “band” was disclaimed. The Board found that this evidence established that the terms SKEETER and BAND are merely descriptive when used in connection with insect repellents and bracelets, respectively. The combination of the two terms adds no new meaning:
Taken together, the terms SKEETER BAND retain their descriptive meaning and merely convey knowledge of a quality, feature, function, or characteristic of the goods, “Mosquito Repellent Bracelets.” That is, the goods are wearable bands that will repel mosquitoes.
Applicant argued that SKEETER conveys multiple meanings other than referring to mosquitos: “the cited dictionary alternatively defines the term SKEETER as: i) ‘an iceboat 16 feet (5 meters) or more in length having a single sail’ and ii) ‘a skeet shooter.'” The Board did not bite. It pointed out that the meaning of the term must be determined in the context of the goods, not in the abstract.
Applicant also argued that SKEETER is an informal term for mosquitos and does not literally describe them. The Board, however, found that “[t]he dictionary entries in the record for SKEETER suggest that the term is a common synonym for ‘mosquito,’ and is not so informal or obscure as to defy consumer understanding.”
Finally, applicant maintained that “even if the term SKEETER BAND directly translated to ‘mosquito bracelet,’ it still would not describe a ‘mosquito repellent bracelet.'” Buzz off, said the Board: “It is well settled that consumers have a habit of shortening names.”
Therefore the Board affirmed the refusal.
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TTABlog comment: SKEETER is much too cute a name for the little bastards.
Text Copyright John L. Welch 2019.