|To:||Buskey, John M III (email@example.com)|
|Subject:||U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 88791870 - SOUTHERN YANKEE - N/A|
|Sent:||April 29, 2020 08:44:50 AM|
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
Office Action (Official Letter) About Applicant’s Trademark Application
U.S. Application Serial No. 88791870
Mark: SOUTHERN YANKEE
Applicant: Buskey, John M III
Reference/Docket No. N/A
Correspondence Email Address:
NONFINAL OFFICE ACTION
The USPTO must receive applicant’s response to this letter within six months of the issue date below or the application will be abandoned. Respond using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). A link to the appropriate TEAS response form appears at the end of this Office action.
Issue date: April 29, 2020
The referenced application has been reviewed by the assigned trademark examining attorney. Applicant must respond timely and completely to the issue(s) below. 15 U.S.C. §1062(b); 37 C.F.R. §§2.62(a), 2.65(a); TMEP §§711, 718.03.
The trademark examining attorney searched the USPTO database of registered and pending marks and found no conflicting marks that would bar registration under Trademark Act Section 2(d). 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); TMEP §704.02.
SUMMARY OF ISSUES:
Registration is refused because the applied-for mark as used on the specimen of record is merely a decorative or ornamental feature of applicant’s clothing and, thus, does not function as a trademark to indicate the source of applicant’s clothing and to identify and distinguish applicant’s clothing from others. Trademark Act Sections 1, 2, and 45, 15 U.S.C. §§1051-1052, 1127; see In re Lululemon Athletica Can. Inc., 105 USPQ2d 1684, 1689 (TTAB 2013); In re Pro-Line Corp., 28 USPQ2d 1141, 1142 (TTAB 1993); TMEP §§904.07(b), 1202.03 et seq.
The size, location, dominance, and significance of the alleged mark as used on the goods are all relevant factors in determining the commercial impression of the applied-for mark. See, e.g., In re Peace Love World Live, LLC, 127 USPQ2d 1400, 1403 (TTAB 2018) (quoting In re Hulting, 107 USPQ2d 1175, 1178 (TTAB 2013)); In re Lululemon Athletica Can. Inc., 105 USPQ2d at 1687 (quoting In re Right-On Co., 87 USPQ2d 1152, 1156 (TTAB 2008)); TMEP §1202.03(a).
With respect to clothing, consumers may recognize small designs or discrete wording as trademarks, rather than as merely ornamental features, when located, for example, on the pocket or breast area of a shirt. See TMEP §1202.03(a). Consumers may not, however, perceive larger designs or slogans as trademarks when such matter is prominently displayed across the front of a t-shirt. See In re Pro-Line Corp., 28 USPQ2d at 1142; In re Dimitri’s Inc., 9 USPQ2d 1666, 1667-68 (TTAB 1988); TMEP §1202.03(a), (b), (f)(i), (f)(ii).
In this case, the submitted specimen shows the applied-for mark, “SOUTHERN YANKEE”, located directly on the upper-center area of the front of the shirt and the front portion of the hat, where ornamental elements often appear. See TMEP §1202.03(a), (b). Furthermore, the mark is displayed in a relatively large size on the clothing such that it dominates the overall appearance of the goods. Lastly, the applied-for mark appears to be a slogan that is used in a merely decorative manner that would be perceived by consumers as having little or no particular source-identifying significance.
Therefore, consumers would view the applied-for mark as a decorative or ornamental feature of the goods, rather than as a trademark to indicate the source of applicant’s goods and to distinguish them from others.
In appropriate circumstances, applicant may overcome this refusal by satisfying one of the following options:
(1) Submit a different specimen (a verified “substitute” specimen) that was in actual use in commerce at least as early as the filing date of the application (or prior to the filing of an amendment to allege use) and that shows proper trademark use for the identified goods in International Class 25. Examples of acceptable specimens that show non-ornamental use on clothing include hang tags and labels used inside a garment.
(2) Amend to the Supplemental Register, which is a second trademark register for marks not yet eligible for registration on the Principal Register, but which may become capable over time of functioning as source indicators.
(3) Claim acquired distinctiveness under Trademark Act Section 2(f) by submitting evidence that the applied-for mark has become distinctive of applicant’s goods; that is, proof that applicant’s extensive use and promotion of the mark allowed consumers now directly to associate the mark with applicant as the source of the goods.
(4) Submit evidence that the applied-for mark is an indicator of secondary source; that is, proof that the mark is already recognized as a source indicator for other goods or services that applicant sells/offers.
(5) Amend the filing basis to intent to use under Section 1(b). This option will later necessitate additional fee(s) and filing requirements.
For an overview of the response options above and instructions on how to satisfy each option online using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) form, see the Ornamental Refusal webpage.
Applicant must also address the following grounds for refusal.
SPECIMEN REFUSAL – DIGITALLY ALTERED/MOCK-UP SPECIMEN
Digitally altered image or mockup is not an acceptable specimen. Registration is refused because the specimen appears to consist of a digitally created or altered image or a mockup of a depiction of the mark on the goods or their packaging and does not show the applied-for mark as actually used in commerce in International Class(es) 025. Trademark Act Sections 1 and 45, 15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1127; 37 C.F.R. §§2.34(a)(1)(iv), 2.56(a), (c); TMEP §§904.04(a), 904.07(a).
An application based on Trademark Act Section 1(a) must include a specimen showing the applied-for mark as actually used in commerce for each international class of goods identified in the application or amendment to allege use. 15 U.S.C. §1051(a)(1); 37 C.F.R. §§2.34(a)(1)(iv), 2.56(a); TMEP §§904, 904.07(a). “Use in commerce” means (1) a bona fide use of the applied-for mark in the ordinary course of trade (and not merely to reserve a right in the mark), (2) the mark is placed in any manner on the goods, packaging, tags or labels affixed to the goods, or displays that directly associate the mark with the goods and have a point-of-sale nature, and (3) the goods are actually sold or transported in commerce. See 15 U.S.C. §1127.
An image of a product or packaging that has been digitally created or altered to include the mark or a mockup of how the mark may be displayed on the product or packaging is not a proper specimen for goods because it does not show actual use of the mark in commerce. See 15 U.S.C. §1127; 37 C.F.R. §2.56(c); TMEP §904.04(a).
In this case, the mark appears to be digitally superimposed or photoshopped on the hat, shirts, and hang tag. Therefore, the specimen does not show actual use of the mark in commerce.
Additional information/documentation about specimen required. To permit proper examination of the application record for compliance with use in commerce requirements, applicant must respond to the following requests for information and documentation about the specimen(s). See 37 C.F.R. §2.61(b); TMEP §814. Answer for each specimen/photograph/image previously provided. For any website source submitted as supporting evidence, provide a digital copy of the entire webpage from top to bottom, as rendered in an Internet browser, that includes the URL and access or print date. TMEP §710.01(b) (citing In re I-Coat Co., 126 USPQ2d 1730, 1733 (TTAB 2018)).
(1) Identify the particular good(s) listed in the application for which the specimen(s) was submitted to show use of the mark.
(2) Explain whether the specimen was created for submission with this application. If so, specify the date each specimen was created. If applicant used the image(s) of the goods shown in the specimen(s) from a third-party website, provide the URL of the website and a digital copy of relevant webpage(s) for each image.
(3) Provide information about and examples of how applicant’s goods appear in the actual sales environment.
(a) If sold in stores, provide a representative sample of the name(s) of the stores and of photographs showing the goods for sale in the named stores, such as photographs of the sales displays or goods on shelves with the mark.
(b) If sold online, provide a representative sample of the name(s) of the online retailers, the website URL(s) for each named retailer, and a digital copy of the webpages showing the goods for sale on the named website.
(c) If sold in another type of sales environment (e.g., catalogs, trade shows), identify the environment and provide photographs and/or documentation showing the goods for sale in that environment.
(4) If the information in question (3) about how the goods appear in the actual sales environment is not available to applicant, please describe how applicant’s goods are sold or transported and provide photographs and other documentation showing how applicant’s mark appears on the goods and/or its packaging when the goods are sold or transported to or within the United States.
(5) For each category of sales environment specified in response to questions (3) and (4), specify when the goods bearing the mark were first available for purchase within the United States, the date of the first sale of the goods to or within the United States, and whether the goods are still for sale to or within the United States in that environment.
(6) For the goods identified in response to question (1), specify the dollar amount of sales with or within the United States and provide at least three invoices or other supporting documentation that show payments or other consideration made, redacting personal or private information of buyers as necessary.
Response options. Applicant may respond to the specimen refusal by satisfying one of the following for each applicable international class:
(1) Submit the additional information/documentation referenced above establishing that the original specimen was actually used in commerce as of the filing date of the application or prior to the filing of the amendment to allege use.
(2) Submit a different specimen (a verified “substitute” specimen) that (a) was in actual use in commerce at least as early as the filing date of the application or prior to the filing of an amendment to allege use and (b) shows the mark in actual use in commerce for the goods identified in the application or amendment to allege use. A “verified substitute specimen” is a specimen that is accompanied by the following statement made in a signed affidavit or supported by a declaration under 37 C.F.R. §2.20: “The substitute (or new, or originally submitted, if appropriate) specimen(s) was/were in use in commerce at least as early as the filing date of the application or prior to the filing of the amendment to allege use.” The substitute specimen cannot be accepted without this statement. For instructions on how to submit a different specimen using the online Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) form, see the Specimen webpage.
Applicant must also fully respond to the requirement for additional information and documentation referenced above for any different specimen provided. Failure to comply with a requirement to furnish information is grounds for refusing registration. In re Harley, 119 USPQ2d 1755, 1757-58 (TTAB 2016); TMEP §814. Merely stating that information is available on applicant’s or a third party website or providing a hyperlink of such a website is an insufficient response and will not make the additional information or materials of record. See In re Planalytics, Inc., 70 USPQ2d 1453, 1457-58 (TTAB 2004).
(3) Amend the filing basis to intent to use under Section 1(b) (which includes withdrawing an amendment to allege use, if one was filed), as no specimen is required before publication. This option will later necessitate additional fee(s) and filing requirements, including a specimen.
If applicant amends the basis, the requirement for additional information and documentation referenced above will be withdrawn.
SPECIMEN REFUSAL – MARK ON SPECIMEN DOES NOT MATCH THE DRAWING OF THE MARK
Mark shown on drawing does not match mark on specimen. Registration is refused because the specimen does not show the mark in the drawing in use in commerce in International Class(es) 025, which is required in the application or amendment to allege use. Trademark Act Sections 1 and 45, 15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1127; 37 C.F.R. §§2.34(a)(1)(iv), 2.56(a); TMEP §§904, 904.07(a), 1301.04(g)(i). The mark appearing on the specimen and in the drawing must match; that is, the mark in the drawing “must be a substantially exact representation of the mark” on the specimen. See 37 C.F.R. §2.51(a)-(b); TMEP §807.12(a).
In this case, the specimen displays the mark as “SOUTHERN YANKEE LIVING” and “THIS GUY IS A SOUTHERN YANKEE”. However, the drawing displays the mark as “SOUTHERN YANKEE”. The mark on the specimen does not match the mark in the drawing because the mark on the specimen contains additional wording. Applicant has thus failed to provide the required evidence of use of the mark in commerce. See TMEP §807.12(a).
Response options. Applicant may respond to this refusal by satisfying one of the following:
(1) Submit a different specimen (a verified “substitute” specimen) for each applicable international class that (a) shows the mark in the drawing in actual use in commerce for the goods and/or services in the application or amendment to allege use, and (b) was in actual use in commerce at least as early as the filing date of the application or prior to the filing of an amendment to allege use.
Examples of specimens. Specimens for goods include a photograph of (1) the actual goods bearing the mark; (2) an actual container, packaging, tag or label for the goods bearing the mark; or (3) a point-of-sale display showing the mark directly associated with the goods. See 37 C.F.R. §2.56(b)(1), (c); TMEP §904.03(a)-(m). A webpage specimen submitted as a display associated with the goods must show the mark in association with a picture or textual description of the goods and include information necessary for ordering the goods. TMEP §904.03(i); see 37 C.F.R. §2.56(b)(1), (c).
Specimens for services must show a direct association between the mark and the services and include: (1) copies of advertising and marketing material, (2) a photograph of business signage or billboards, or (3) materials showing the mark in the sale, rendering, or advertising of the services. See 37 C.F.R. §2.56(b)(1), (c); TMEP §1301.04(a), (h)(iv)(C).
Any web page printout or screenshot submitted as a specimen, whether for goods or services, must include the webpage’s URL and the date it was accessed or printed. 37 C.F.R. §2.56(c).
(2) Submit a request to amend the filing basis to intent to use under Section 1(b) (which includes withdrawing an amendment to allege use, if one was filed), as no specimen is required before publication. This option will later necessitate additional fee(s) and filing requirements such as providing a specimen.
The USPTO will not accept an amended drawing submitted in response to this refusal because the changes would materially alter the drawing of the mark in the original application or as previously acceptably amended. See 37 C.F.R. §2.72(a)-(b); TMEP §807.14. Specifically, the additional wording on the specimens, namely, “LIVING” and “THIS GUY IS A” creates a different commercial impression from the mark in the drawing and the addition of this wording to the drawing would consists of a material alteration of the applied-for mark.
For more information about drawings and instructions on how to satisfy these response options using the online Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) form, see the Drawing webpage.
How to respond. Click to file a response to this nonfinal Office action.
For this application to proceed, applicant must explicitly address each refusal and/or requirement in this Office action. For a refusal, applicant may provide written arguments and evidence against the refusal, and may have other response options if specified above. For a requirement, applicant should set forth the changes or statements. Please see “Responding to Office Actions” and the informational video “Response to Office Action” for more information and tips on responding.
Please call or email the assigned trademark examining attorney with questions about this Office action. Although an examining attorney cannot provide legal advice, the examining attorney can provide additional explanation about the refusal(s) and/or requirement(s) in this Office action. See TMEP §§705.02, 709.06.
The USPTO does not accept emails as responses to Office actions; however, emails can be used for informal communications and are included in the application record. See 37 C.F.R. §§2.62(c), 2.191; TMEP §§304.01-.02, 709.04-.05.
Because of the legal technicalities and strict deadlines of the trademark application process, applicant is encouraged to hire a private attorney who specializes in trademark matters to assist in this process. The assigned trademark examining attorney can provide only limited assistance explaining the content of an Office action and the application process. USPTO staff cannot provide legal advice or statements about an applicant’s legal rights. TMEP §§705.02, 709.06. See Hiring a U.S.-licensed trademark attorney for more information.
/Tricia L. Brown/
Law Office 121