The IPKat has come across Mrs Hearing Officer Ashworth’s decision in MUSLIMHERITAGE.COM.
The sign was applied for in respect of a website in Class 41 on the subject of Muslim Heritage.
The applicant pointed to its well-established use of the muslimheritage.com domain name, but Mrs Ashworth was unimpressed. She began by pointing out that arguably this should have been a s.3(1)(c), rather than a s.3(1)(b) objection, since the term described the contents of the website. However, this did not alter the ultimate result.
The average consumer would see the sign as leading to a website about Muslim heritage, rather than as an indication of source. The addition of the ‘.com’ would likewise be seen an internet address, rather than as converting the term into an indication of source. The fact that the applicant had organised an exhibition under the banner “1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage of our World” was of no assistance. It was not use in relation to the applied for services, and use in a single exhibition was unlikely to lead to acquired distinctiveness.
The IPKat says this is clearly right. Adding a gTLD to a descriptive term can’t render a sign registrable. He’s appalled though to see a misplaced apostrophe in the decision, where the Hearing Officer says:
The exhibition was very specific in it’s content “1001 inventions” then “Discover the Muslim Heritage of our world".For shame!