A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

Court Grants Summary Judgment Declaring the Word “Collective” to Be Descriptive in the Trademark at Issue

In a March 24, 2014 ruling, Judge Katherine B. Forrest held on summary judgment that the word “collective” is descriptive as applied to the defendant’s services in the plaintiff’s declaratory judgment action of trademark non-infringement. Judge Forrest wrote:
The word “collective,” as used by Collective is descriptive. “Collective” is defined in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, inter alia, “denoting a number of persons or things considered as one group or whole,” “formed by collecting: aggregated,” and “of, relating to, or being a group of individuals.” This is precisely the manner in which Collective uses the word; it is an advertising network that offers a collection or collective of advertising opportunities. It is the manner in which Collective uses the word in the Collective Marks themselves (“collective” followed by another word or words) and in its descriptions of those marks. The word “collective” thus literally describes “an immediate idea of the ingredients, qualities or characteristics” of Collective’s product.
The Court also denied the plaintiff’s motion “to grant it summary judgment as to the strength of any trademark rights Collective may have in “collective” as a stand-alone mark,” finding disputed issues of material fact.
The general information and thoughts posted to this blog are provided only as an informational service to the web community and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. Nothing on this blog is intended to create an attorney-client relationship and nothing posted constitutes legal advice. You should understand that the posts by the author, who is an attorney at U.S. law firm Allegaert, Berger & Vogel, may or may not reflect the views of that firm and that the author of this blog is only authorized to practice law in the jurisdictions in which he is properly licensed to do so. For additional information, click here.