Trademark Trial and Appeal Board
Patent and Trademark Office (P.T.O.)
*1 IN RE VAUGHAN FURNITURE COMPANY, INC.
Serial No. 74/021,485
March 3, 1992
C. Robert Rhodes of Rhodes; Coats & Bennett for applicant
Patricia A. Malesardi
Trademark Examining Attorney
Law Office 14
(R. Ellsworth Williams, Managing Attorney)
Before Rice, Rooney and Seeherman
Opinion by Seeherman
Vaughan Furniture Company, Inc. has appealed the refusal of the Examining Attorney to register PINE CRAFTS for household furniture. [FN1] The application was made pursuant to Section 1(b) of the Trademark Act, based on an intention to use the mark in commerce. Registration was originally refused under Section 2(e)(1), on the ground that the mark merely describes the goods. This refusal was withdrawn at one point in the examination of the application, when applicant agreed to a disclaimer of the word PINE; however, the refusal was subsequently reinstated, as a result of which the Examining Attorney had the disclaimer stricken from the record. The issue in this appeal, thus, is whether the refusal of registration pursuant to Section 2(e)(1) is proper.
Section 2(e)(1) of the Statute precludes registration of a mark on the Principal Register if it "consists of a mark which, when applied to the goods of the applicant, is merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of them." A term is merely descriptive if, as applied to the goods or services in question, it describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, composition, purpose, attribute, use, etc. of such goods or services. In re Engineering Systems Corp., 2 USPQ2d 1075 (TTAB 1986).
In this case, applicant has conceded, both by its offered disclaimer and in its brief, the descriptiveness of PINE. The Examining Attorney has therefore focused her attention on the word CRAFTS, and has submitted excerpts from approximately 87 articles [FN2] taken from the NEXIS data base in support of her contention that CRAFTS is widely used as a descriptive term in the furniture industry.
We have carefully examined this evidence, but we do not believe that it supports the Examining Attorney's position. The fact that the term "craft" may be used in an article about furniture does not mean that "craft" or, more particularly, PINE CRAFTS, is a merely descriptive term for furniture. The bulk of the references are to Arts and Crafts furniture (also called Arts and Crafts period furniture and Arts and Crafts Movement furniture), which is a style of furniture. Since "Arts and Crafts," and not "crafts" per se, is the name of a particular style, we cannot regard these references as demonstrating that "crafts" is a descriptive term for furniture.
Other references are to "craft" in connection with its dictionary definition of "an occupation, trade, or pursuit requiring manual dexterity for the application of artistic skill," [FN3] for example, "Hunter devoted himself to a couple of new crafts: making furniture and clothing," [FN4]; "continuous demonstrations of such crafts as weaving, furniture making, gourd engraving and native American beading" [FN5]; "they craft unpretentious furniture" [FN6]; "a new generation of New England artisans has revived the craft of hand-produced furniture." [FN7] While furniture making may be considered a craft, this does not make PINE CRAFTS merely descriptive of furniture.
*2 Many more of the references actually point up the distinction between "crafts" and furniture by listing them separately, as shown by the following:
But most of the show is from the 20th century and much of the art is very recent. It is a stirring melange of painting, sculpture, photography, crafts and furniture.
"The New York Times," December 30, 1990;
... consume more locally produced goods and services ranging from furniture and fruit to crafts and cultural activities.
"The New York Times," December 9, 1990;
Thirty-two of the more prominent pieces of arts, crafts, furniture and ceramics in the continuing exhibition....
"Chicago Tribune," October 25, 1990;
Contemporary fine arts and crafts, painted furniture, jewelry ...
"The Business Journal-Portland," October 22, 1990; and
... museum displaying the archduke's collection of local furniture, crafts and archeological finds ...
"Los Angeles Times," October 21, 1990.
This is not to say that none of the excerpts submitted by the Examining Attorney is pertinent to the ground of refusal. One article about a "local craftsman of wood furniture for the outdoors" includes the statement that "he gradually added a variety of Adirondack chairs, benches, porch swings and lawn gliders to his list of pine crafts." [FN8] Three others contain references to "craft furniture", i.e., New York "has simply failed to cultivate new forms of manufacturing to replace the loss of garment, assembly, craft furniture and printing jobs" [FN9]; "the then-prevalent organic style of craft furniture" [FN10] ; and "Jackson, who taught craft furniture making at the Philadelphia College of Art" [FN11]. However, even the last three articles, which appear to use "craft" to indicate finely made or hand-made furniture, do not actually show that "crafts " is used to describe household furniture. [FN12] The most we can determine from these three articles is that CRAFTS may have a suggestive significance.
Thus, after a close examination of what was apparently meant to appear as overwhelming evidence of the descriptiveness of CRAFTS or PINE CRAFTS for furniture, there is really only one article that supports the Examining Attorney's position. In view of the large number of articles which are of record, we cannot conclude from this one reference (or this reference as well as the other three references mentioned above), that CRAFTS or PINE CRAFTS is merely descriptive as applied to household furniture.
Accordingly, the refusal to register PINE CRAFTS on the ground that it is merely descriptive of household furniture is reversed. As indicated earlier, applicant has conceded that PINE is descriptive, and agreed to a disclaimer of that term which the Examining Attorney eliminated when she reinstated the Section 2(e)(1) refusal. In view thereof, the disclaimer of PINE will be entered, and the application will be forwarded for publication.
Members, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board
FN1. Application Serial No. 74/021,485, filed January 22, 1990.
FN2. The Examining Attorney indicated in her brief that excerpts from 167 articles were made of record, but we were able to identify only 87, since some pages of the print-out apparently were not submitted. This is not meant to indicate that the Examining Attorney was remiss in not submitting all 167 articles; on the contrary, it would have been acceptable if the Examining Attorney had submitted a much smaller number than the 87 articles which actually were made of record, as long as the sample was a fair representation of what the entire search revealed, and the Examining Attorney so stated. See, In re Monotype Corp. PLC, 14 USPQ2d 1070 (TTAB 1989).
FN4. "Los Angeles Times," November 26, 1990.
FN5. "Newsday," June 8, 1990.
FN6. "Newsday, March 29, 1990.
FN7. "Business Week," March 5, 1990.
FN8. "Capital District Business Review," May 14, 1990.
FN9. "Newsday," August 19, 1990.
FN10. "Chicago Tribune," August 3, 1990.
FN11. "The Washington Post," August 2, 1990.
FN12. We should point out that there are two other articles that refer to "craft furniture" but, since one was published in a foreign newspaper and another is merely indicated to be a wire service article, we have no basis on which to conclude that these articles were ever published in the United States. Moreover, even if they had been published this would not affect our decision herein.