Last Hope of Trademark Registration Vanishes, 'USB TYPE-C' Flunks Distinctiveness Test on All Poss
USB Type-C is popular among frequent users of consumers of electronic products such as mobile phones and notebook computers. The US-based USB Implementers Forum (USB IF) attempted to register USB TYPE- C as a trademark on USB-architectures-compatible electronic apparatuses. Such hope was squashed recently after Beijing High People's Court made a final judgment, holding No. 17876376 Trademark 'USB TYPE-C' (trademark in dispute) lacks distinctiveness and upholding the negative decision by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB).
The registration of the trademark in dispute was filed by USB IF on September 11, 2015, requesting certified to be used on Class 9 goods such as electronic devices, computer peripherals, computer hardware, computer connectors, smart phones, flat panel displays, personal digital assistants that are compatible with USB architectures.
After examination, the Trademark Office (TMO) refused to register the trademark in dispute holding that the trademark in dispute lacks distinctiveness. The disgruntled USB IF lodged a reexamination request to the TRAB.
The TRAB held that the use of the trademark in dispute on designated goods is a direct embodiment of the contents of the goods and lacks distinctiveness as a trademark. Consequently, a rejection of registration ensued.
The USB IF did not buy the rejection and brought the case to Beijing IP Court.
Beijing IP Court sided with the TRAB and held that the evidences furnished by the USB IF fail to prove the trademark in dispute is distinctive after extensive use on designated goods. In this connection, Beijing IP Court denied the complaint from the USB IF.
The USB IF refused to call it a day and appealed to Beijing High People's Court.
Beijing High held that the use of the trademark in dispute on designated goods is not sufficient to make the general public easily identify the mark as the source of the goods and is unable to distinguish the source of the goods. Moreover, the evidence proposed by the USB IF fails to prove the distinctiveness of the trademark in dispute after extensive use.
Beijing High then rejected the appeal from the USB IF and affirmed the first-instance judgment.(by Wang Guohao)