What do you think, is Overstock.com selling bling with the Fordless blue oval logo?
The pending Fordless blue oval intent-to-use trademark application recently was examined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), and on October 23, 2009, the PTO found no substantive bases for refusal, but instead it issued an initial refusal noting only a couple of purely procedural or technical deficiencies, concerning the wording in the lengthy description of goods and the need for Ford to submit a claim of ownership to some related registrations (here, here, and here).
So, once these minor details are satisfied the above non-verbal Fordless logo will be published for opposition, and assuming no Amendment to Allege Use is filed prior to the approval for publication and assuming no third party files a Notice of Opposition, then a Notice of Allowance will issue, which will start the clock for Ford to put in evidence of use through a Statement of Use.
What remains to be seen (until Ford submits a specimen of use) is whether Ford really will use the above blue oval design without the Ford name brand superimposed, as shown in the drawing submitted to the PTO. If Ford ends up submitting evidence of use with the Ford brand name superimposed on the blue oval logo, then it appears unavoidable that Ford will have additional refusals issued, for the reasons previously articulated.
But, if Ford actually puts in use of the Fordless blue oval logo — as shown in the drawing without the Ford brand name superimposed — does the PTO’s recent failure to challenge inherent distinctiveness mean that no evidence of acquired distinctiveness or secondary meaning will be required for registration?
If so, given the prevalence and popularity of blue oval logos, how can the Fordless blue oval be considered unique enough to be inherently distinctive?
Stay tuned for more on this as we learn more.