Intellectual Property Law

New Matter FALL 2022, VOLUME 47, EDITION 3


Jane Shay Wald

Irell & Manella LLP

When A Handbag’s All The Rage Call It Ark – It’s Still A Cage And Generic (Widespread Use) Refusing ® Was No Abuse

This January 2022 case, denying trademark (trade dress) protection to an ubiquitous "bamboo cage" style handbag, was recently re-designated as precedential—a good decision for practitioners as the way a trade dress may be deemed generic is set forth in considerable detail in this decision. The Board upheld the Examining Attorney’s refusal to register Applicant’s trade dress in its handbag as generic. Alternatively, the Board found that even if the configuration were not generic, it could not be protected as it acquired no distinctiveness. It seems the Board is handing down more 50-plus page opinions in recent years, and this is one of them. This is the applicant’s drawing of the trademark sought to be registered.

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