PTO geek post alert!
One of the PTO’s most
exasperating grounds for refusal of registration is that the mark
sought to be registered is primarily merely a surname. While for Smith
or Miller that may be fine, there are plenty of really obscure surnames
that the public really just doesn’t view as a surname. (See this response to an initial refusal to register PUGET ENERGY on the ground that Puget is primarily merely a surname – it worked, by the way).
How delighted I was then to read David Lebovitz’s wonderful blog this morning: First, I learned about a new American chocolatier, Askinosie Chocolate.
Then I started to wonder . . . I see the (R) registration notice, but
I’m wondering whether that’s a surname. Sounds like “Ashkenazi,” the
word for Jews of Eastern European origin . . . wonder if the PTO had an
issue with that as a surname . . . Let’s check!
Well, I checked, and the PTO reflexively issued a surname refusal, but then backed off with little fuss.
The applicant didn’t even have to argue the rareness of the name, which
suggests to me that the PTO had a pretty weak case; normally, even when
their database shows as few as 30-odd listings of a particular name
among millions, they’ll raise the refusal.
So bravo to all, and now it’s time to track down that chocolate!