Last month the TTAB refused trademark registration to Monster Cable Products for use of the word “Monster” in connection with the sale of automotive and marine accessories, truck bed mats, running boards, seat covers, etc. Because the term “monster truck” means a large truck, the use of the term “monster” in connection with truck accessories is generic and simply identifies the products as truck parts. An interesting decision since, as generic, monster can never be trademarked for truck parts, whereas, had the TTAB found that the term “monster” was merely descriptive, the mark could still garner trademark protection upon a showing of secondary meaning (i.e., that consumers associate the “monster” brand with the product the company sells). Full decision here.
We know you can’t trademark the phrase “action sports” (just like you can’t trademark “monster truck”) alone without some other mark or identifier, but, under this new reasoning, could the TTAB be closing the door on use of just the word “action” as a trademark for any snow/skate/surf product or accessory (for example, “action bindings”)? Is “action sports” a generic term for snow/skate/surf products or is it merely descriptive? I think it’s more descriptive, but only time will tell. But if it is generic, that’s proably not a bad thing, as I’m sure anyone who really belongs in this space can – and should – be a little more creative in making a mark.