Law School Case Brief
In re Budge Mfg. Co. - 857 F.2d 773 (Fed. Cir. 1988)
Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1052(a), bars registration of a mark which consists of or comprises deceptive matter.
Budge Manufacturing Co, Inc. (“Budge”) sought to register the mark “LAMB” for its automotive cover seats which were made of synthetic fiber. The United States Trademark Trial and Appeals Bord denied Budge’s application because of deceptiveness under § 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1052(a). Budge appealed, arguing that its use of LAMB as part of its mark was not misdescriptive when considered in connection with the text in its advertising, which stated that the cover was of “simulated sheepskin.”
Was Budge Manufacturing Co. Inc.’s use of the mark “LAMB” for its automotive cover seats deceptive, thereby justifying the Board’s decision to deny its application for trademark registration?
The Court noted that the standard for determining deceptive matter was: 1) whether the term was misdescriptive of the character, quality, function, composition or use of the goods; (2) if so, would prospective purchasers likely to believe that the misdescription actually described the goods; (3) If so, was the misdescription likely to affect the decision to purchase. In the case at bar, the Court concluded that the Patent and Trademark Office met its initial burden of demonstrating unregistrability by the fact that the seats were not made from sheep products and that, thus, the term "lamb" was misdescriptive and reasonable purchasers were likely to believe the seats were lambskin. The Court rejected the argument that corresponding advertisement cured the misdescription because the word of the mark, not the advertising, was what was sought to be registered. The Court determined that the mark, standing alone, was misdescriptive.
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