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AOL Ad.com Trademark Claim Refused as Generic

Trademark examiner refuses Ad.com trademark again.

AOL’s continued battle to trademark a domain name it doesn’t even own has hit another roadblock. On June 21, a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examiner refused the trademark for Ad.com on the grounds that it’s generic.

The USPTO previously refused the mark because Ad.com was merely descriptive of AOL’s services. In response, AOL amended the application to add a claim of acquired distinctiveness.

In refusing the application on the basis of its generic nature, the examiner noted:

Generic terms are terms that the relevant purchasing public understands primarily as the common or class name for the goods and/or services…Generic terms are by definition incapable of indicating a particular source of the goods and/or services, and cannot be registered as trademarks and/or service marks; doing so “would grant the owner of the mark a monopoly, since a competitor could not describe his goods as what they are…Thus, applicant’s claim of acquired distinctiveness under 15 U.S.C. §1052(f) is insufficient to overcome the refusal because no amount of purported proof that a generic mark has acquired secondary meaning can transform it into a registrable trademark.

The addition of .com is generally considered just an internet address and is often disregarded. This is a similar problem that 1-800-Mattress had trying to trademark Mattress.com. But at least in that case it actually owned the domain name it was trying to trademark.

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  1. Tim

    Has AOL not done anything that is not foolish in the last 10 years?

    I’m glad I sold all my AOL stock in May of 2000 right as it was crashing b/c it never came back.

    $94 down to $8…..and it has taken a decade to go back up to $23 where it is at now.

    I’m not sure why it is even at $23 after all the bad moves it has made. Bebo.com anyone? LOL.

  2. Barry Lebovitz

    AOL killed millions of trees and thousands of barrels of oil to mass produce those “promotional trial” CDs sent to every address in the United States.

    AOL has always meant commercial big brother business corporate douche baggery. AOL should have to pay the 1 MIL dvyank paid to aquire the domain LEGALLY.

  3. Dave Zan

    Forgive me for my forgetfulness but…has the examiner known that AOL doesn’t even possess the domain name itself?

  4. domain guy

    it is not necassary to own the domain to get a trademark.and brillant legal work can obtain the trademark on a generic term.. and as usual domain guy will crank out the answer, greenpatentblog.com which was refused and the received trademark status,you can study for yourself how this was done. then if desired aol could purchase
    the domain if desired the domain could not be legally seized if trademark status is acquired. the pto is very hesitat
    nt of taking words out of the english language for trademarks but brillant legal work SOMETIMES CAN GET THIS ACCOMPLISHED.
    the question is is it obtainable and worth it?

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