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In re Morton-Norwich Products, Inc.

United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals
671 F.2d 1332 (C.C.P.A. 1982)


Morton-Norwich Products, Inc. (Morton-Norwich) (plaintiff) sought trademark registration for the trade dress of a spray bottle that Morton-Norwich used as a container for its products. Morton-Norwich owned two patents that had been incorporated into the design of the spray bottle. In support of its application, Morton-Norwich provided evidence that the trade dress of its spray bottle had achieved secondary meaning as a designator of its source and was thus eligible for protection as a trademark. The examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office felt differently, however, and ultimately rejected the registration on the basis of the spray bottle’s functional features and lack of distinctiveness. Morton-Norwich appealed to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), but the TTAB affirmed the decision of the examiner and viewed the design of the spray bottle as primarily functional. Morton-Norwich appealed the TTAB’s decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rich, J.)

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