Annapolitan Mumbo Jumbo: The TTAB, Distinctiveness, and the DMV

Vol. 6 No. 5

By

Rebeccah Gan is Of Counsel at Young & Thompson in Alexandria, Virginia. She previously represented Alcatraz Media in the Annapolis Tours cancellation proceeding and always declines mumbo sauce at the takeouts near her D.C. home.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) occupies a small cluster of hearing rooms on the ninth floor of Madison Building at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Virginia. Many of their opinions tackle issues from far outside the confines of the Mid-Atlantic milieu in which the TTAB holds court. In 2013, for example, the TTAB opined on the geographic descriptiveness of the Belgian village of Achouffe in the context of beer;1 the distinctiveness of the University of Alabama’s houndstooth pattern;2 and the true French owner of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine.3

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