Generic Misspellings (Trademark)


An otherwise generic term that is misspelled typically is incapable of trademark registration.  Some examples include:

  • AL-KOL for alcohol
  • GLUE STIK for glue sticks
  • LITE for "light" beer
  • SAFE T PLUG for "safety plug"
  • URGICARE for "urgent care"
However, an exception exists if the misspelling is not obvious.  For example, MUFFUNS for muffins was held to be acceptable for registration (i.e., the food has a "fun" aspect to it).  For more information, see TMEP 1209.03(j) Phonetic Equivalent which provides:

A slight misspelling of a word will not turn a descriptive or generic word into a non-descriptive mark. See C-Thru Ruler Co. v. Needleman, (E.D. Pa. 1976) (C-THRU held to be the equivalent of “see-through” and, therefore, merely descriptive of transparent rulers and drafting aids); In re Carlson, 91 USPQ2d 1198, 1203 (TTAB 2009) (URBANHOUZING, in standard character form, would be perceived by consumers as the equivalent of the descriptive term URBAN HOUSING, rather than as including the separate word ZING); In re Ginc UK Ltd., 90 USPQ2d 1472, 1475 (TTAB 2007) (“The generic meaning of “togs” not overcome by the misspelling of the term as TOGGS…”); In re Hubbard Milling Co., 6 USPQ2d 1239 (TTAB 1987) (MINERAL-LYX held generic for mineral licks for feeding livestock).



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