The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has ruled that Pan American Properties Corp. cannot register “White Sangriiia” as a trademark because both terms, as well as their combination, are “merely descriptive.” In re Pan American Props., Corp., No. 86556214 (T.T.A.B., entered February 26, 2018). TTAB also rejected the company’s argument that the term was “fanciful or suggestive.” Although Pan American Properties referred to its previous registration of the “fanciful” term “Gasolina Sangriiia” for prepared cocktails in its appeal, TTAB noted that neither the company nor the examining attorney included the registration in the application record before the appeal was filed, and TTAB refused to take judicial notice of “registrations residing in the Office.” Finally, TTAB found insufficient evidence to prove the term “sangriiia” had acquired distinctiveness; even if Pan American Properties had provided enough evidence to prove five years of sales, the board held, that period is not long enough to meet the “very high burden” of proving distinctiveness for a “highly descriptive” mark.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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