No Trade Dress Protection For Pink Ceramic Hip Implant Components

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado recently denied a manufacturer of ceramic medical products trade dress protection for the color pink for its ceramic hip-implant components.

CeramTec sells ceramic hip-implant components made of zirconia-toughened aluminia (ZTA), under the name BIOLOX Delta.  Hardness is an important characteristic of such components because it impacts wear and performance.  In 1998, CeramTec obtained a utility patent that disclosed a combination of chromium and zirconium dioxide to achieve hardness scores for ZTA ceramics that had never been obtained before.  The chromium gives BIOLOX Delta its light pink color. Continue reading

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Little Caesars Fails To Prove Acquired Distinctiveness For DEEP!DEEP! DISH PIZZA Mark

The TTAB recently held that trademark applicants may rely on the “family of marks” doctrine to prove acquired distinctiveness for descriptive marks, but that LC Trademarks, Inc. had failed to establish acquired distinctiveness for its DEEP!DEEP! DISH PIZZA mark.

LC sought registration of its DEEP!DEEP! DISH PIZZA mark on the basis of Section 2(f), thereby conceding the mark’s descriptiveness.  Nevertheless, LC argued that its burden to establish acquired distinctiveness should be lower because DEEP!DEEP! DISH PIZZA is a unitary phrase that creates a commercial impression distinct from its individual component terms.  In particular, LC argued that the repetition of the word DEEP! creates a different commercial impression than the single word DEEP.  The Board disagreed, finding that the repetition served only as an intensifier, underscoring the highly descriptive nature of the term.  The Board’s decision was supported by numerous webpages submitted by the Examining Attorney demonstrating that “deep dish pizza” is a recognized type of pizza.  Continue reading

Amended TTAB Rules

New rules for the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) go into effect on January 14, 2017, aiming to provide more efficiency and streamlining of inter partes (oppositions, cancellations, and concurrent use) and ex parte appeal proceedings.  The rules apply to all proceedings active on January 14 and those subsequently filed.

Some of the key rules changes are summarized below.  Continue reading

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