UnIntellectual Property (UnIP): Trademark for Peace Symbol

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) affirmed a refusal to register the well-known peace symbol.  TTAB Decision.  Craigslist, Inc. attempted to register the peace symbol, albeit in purple, in connection with various services, including advertising.  The TTAB agreed with the Examining Attorney and held that the peace symbol failed to function as a trademark, relying upon significant amounts of underlying evidence.  In doing so, it stated “a universal symbol fails to function as a mark “because it only imparts information, conveys an informational message, or provides ornamentation.” TMEP § 1202.17(a). Universal symbols include designs, icons or images that are commonly used in an informational manner and convey a widely recognized or readily understood meaning when displayed in their relevant context.”


The TTAB analyzed the (1) the significance of the symbol; (2) the nature of the symbol’s use in the relevant marketplace; and (3) the impression created when the mark is used in connection with the identified goods or services.  It ultimately held that the peace symbol merely conveys an information message and any use to date has been ornamental.


Was this overreaching?  Would you change your mind if you knew that Craigslist already owns a registered trademark for a peace symbol in connection with “downloadable software for use in viewing and posting classified advertising.”  Think about it before you decide.  Moreover, compare this to what has been said to be The 15 Most Ridiculous Trademark Attempts Ever.





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