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GIGANTOSAURUS Merely Describes Show’s Featured Character

Posted by James Juo | Dec 15, 2023 | 0 Comments

A mark is merely descriptive if it immediately conveys a significant attribute, function or property of the goods or services to the average consumer of those goods or services. In re Chamber of Commerce of the U.S., 675 F.3d 1297, 102 USPQ2d 1217, 1219 (Fed. Cir. 2012); In re H.U.D.D.L.E., 216 USPQ 358, 359 (TTAB 1982); In re MBAssociates, 180 USPQ 338, 339 (TTAB 1973).

The determination of mere descriptiveness must not be made in the abstract or on the basis of guesswork. In re Abcor Dev. Corp., 588 F.2d 811, 200 USPQ 215, 218 (CCPA 1978). The question is whether someone who knows what the goods or services are will understand the term to convey information about them. DuoProSS Meditech Corp. v. Inviro Medical Devices Ltd., 695 F.3d 1247, 103 USPQ2d 1753, 1757 (Fed. Cir. 2012); In re Bayer AG, 488 F.3d 960, 82 USPQ2d 1828, 1831 (Fed. Cir. 2007)); Coach Servs., Inc. v. Triumph Learning LLC, 668 F.3d 1356, 101 USPQ2d 1713, 1728 (Fed. Cir. 2012).


Gigantosaurus was an enormous carnivorous dinosaur of the late Cretaceous period. More recently, it also is an animated television series about four young dinosaurs who live during the Cretaceous period when “Gigantosaurus, the biggest fiercest dinosaur reigns over it all.”

GIGANTOSAURUS for “cartoon dissemination services, namely, streaming of video material on the Internet,” however, was “merely descriptive of a featured character with the name of the type of dinosaur depicted as used in connection with [those] services.” In re Cyber Group Studios, Ser. No. 79303731 (TTAB Dec. 12, 2023).

In the same way a term may be merely descriptive for printing and distributing magazines and television broadcasting services because it describes the content or subject matter being offered or featured, GIGANTOSAURUS is merely descriptive of Applicant's “Cartoon dissemination services, namely, streaming of video material on the Internet.” GIGANTOSAURUS merely describes a featured dinosaur character in the preschool television series by using the name of the type of dinosaur depicted. See In re Putman Publ'g. Co., 39 USPQ2d 2021, 2022 (TTAB 1996) (FOOD & BEVERAGE ONLINE merely descriptive of news and information services in the food processing industry); In re Conus Commc'ns Co., 23 USPQ2d 1717, 1719 (TTAB 1992) (ALL NEWS CHANNEL generic for television channel broadcasting all news); In re Gracious Lady Serv., Inc., 175 USPQ 380, 382 (TTAB 1972) (CREDIT CARD MARKETING merely descriptive of a periodical pamphlet devoted to subjects of interest to those engaged in the credit card merchandising field); In re Nippon Kokan Kabushiki Kaisha, 171 USPQ 63, 64 (TTAB 1971) (JAPAN STEEL NOTES as applied to applicant's magazine, would immediately indicate to subscribers or recipients thereof that it contains brief items or reports pertaining to the Japanese steel industry).

But the TTAB also found that the mark had acquired distinctiveness under Section 2(f).

The show had been licensed to Disney and was on the Disney Junior channel. In addition, $500,000 was spent on advertising. And there was unsolicited press coverage for the GIGANTOSAURUS television show prior to its premiere date. There also were licensed toys, bed linens, outdoor clothing, textiles, and videogames, and sponsored promotions for “Influencer coverage, which included not just mommy bloggers but, among others, radio and news channels and newspaper websites.”

A large amount of advertising expenditure in a short period of time, along with media and influencer coverage reflected “widespread exposure relating to the GIGANTOSAURUS television show” which the TTAB found to be “substantial.” So “[t]his extensive awareness campaign shows exclusive use and widespread exposure of the GIGANTOSAURUS mark to consumers in connection with the television series.”

Thomas P. Howard, LLC is experienced in trademarks nationwide including in Colorado.

About the Author

James Juo

James Juo is an experienced intellectual property attorney. He has successfully litigated various intellectual property disputes involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. He also has counseled clients on the scope and validity of patent and trademark rights.


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