Image Credit: Virgil Abloh
Initially reported by The Fashion Law, Off-White has been preliminarily refused a trademark application for the phrase “FOR WALKING”. Off-White had filed the patent in late October with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The phrase has previously been used on the brand’s womenswear boots and also on its ‘Out of Office’ sneakers. This is the latest in a number of trademark applications made by the brand using their now infamous quotation marks. The brand claims that the quotation marks act as an indicator of source, as any other trademark would.
On January 6, the USPTO refused the request. Per The Fashion Law, examining attorney Shaunia Carlyle said it was refused on the basis that it “merely describes a feature and purpose of (Off-White’s) goods,”.
Carlyle further elaborated, citing the U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and in reference to the case In re Oppedahl & Larson LLLP. This states that “a mark is merely descriptive if it consists merely of words descriptive of the qualities, ingredients or characteristics of the goods or services related to the mark. Thus, a mark is merely descriptive if it immediately conveys knowledge of a quality or characteristic of the product. A mark may be merely descriptive even if it does not describe the “full scope and extent” of the applicant’s goods or services.”
This is not the first time that Off-White has had issues filing for a trademark. Previously, they filed to no avail for “PRODUCT BAG” and the red zip tie as signifiers of the brand. The latest re-filing by Off-White for the red zip tie trademark used on their sneakers has also been disputed.
The brand has been given sixth months to dispute or amend their application and is able to submit arguments and/or evidence to help substantiate its claims.
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