TTAB Says REI's 'Co-Op' Can Be A Trademark

By Bill Donahue (November 23, 2020, 8:20 PM EST) -- The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is allowing outdoor retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. to register the term "Co-op" as a trademark for bicycles, despite the fact that the term describes the "cooperative" structure of the company.

Overturning a refusal from an examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the board issued a precedential ruling Friday that the term was not "merely descriptive" of the cycling products covered by REI's trademark application.

The board said "co-op" undoubtedly describes REI's corporate structure — a so-called consumers' cooperative that is legally co-owned by its customers — but that what actually mattered were the...

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