Thursday, 18 February 2021 13:53

“ENHANCED PUSH-TO-TALK:” TTAB Found AT&T’s Proposed Trademark Descriptive

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In early January 2021, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) refused to register A&T’s proposed trademark for “ENHANCED PUSH-TO-TALK” on a descriptiveness basis. See Opposition Nos. 91/241,178 and 91/241,179.

On October 17, 2017, AT&T filed trademark applications for “AT&T’S ENHANCED PUSH-TO-TALK” and “ENHANCED PUSH-TO-TALK” in connection with telecommunication services in International Class 038. On May 15, 2018, Sprint Communications Company L.P. (Sprint) filed a Notice of Opposition against each mark alleging the wording “PUSH-TO-TALK” was merely descriptive of a feature of “two-way radios, mobile phones and other communication devices which allows users to switch from reception mode to transmit mode with the push of a button” and that the wording was in common use by Sprint and many other telecommunications companies (as shown by the disclaimer of “PUSH-TO-TALK”).  Sprint argued the word “ENHANCED” was merely descriptive because “it does nothing more than convey to consumers that the services are improved, augmented or better than before” and that the word was frequently used by third parties in close connection with the wording “push-to-talk” to refer to push-to-talk services with enhanced features. On January 8, 2021, the TTAB found “ENHANCED PUSH-TO-TALK” highly descriptive of AT&Ts telecommunication services and “AT&T ENHANCED PUSH-TO-TALK” unregistrable in connection with Applicant’s services, absent a disclaimer of “ENHANCED PUSH-TO-TALK.”

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Emily Mola

Ms. Mola earned her Bachelor’s degree in History, magna cum laude, from the Florida International University, and a Juris Doctor degree and Certificate in Intellectual Property Law from the Florida International University, College of Law. While at FIU Law, she served as the President of the Intellectual Property Student Association. As a result of her dedication to intellectual property law, she earned three CALI Excellence for the Future Awards in focused academic coursework. Ms. Mola is the recipient of the International Trademark Association’s 2020 Ladas Memorial Award for her article, Trademark Law’s Capability to Protect Traditional Cultural Expressions from Unauthorized Borrowing and Theft. Ms. Mola is a 2018 Microsoft/Hispanic National Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Legal Institute scholar.