A Tale of Two Cups: Acquired Distinctiveness and Survey Evidence Before the TTAB

15 July 2020
Sarah Butler and Healey Whitsett

Secondary meaning surveys are commonly used to measure whether a word, name, symbol, or set of design elements is identified by consumers as originating from a single source. In this commentary published in INTA’s The Trademark Report, Managing Director Sarah Butler and Associate Director Healey Whitsett discuss a recent decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) involving trademark applications filed by Starbucks for coffee cups featuring a green dot; and offer some lessons learned from the TTAB’s decision. 

Read the full article on Ms. Butler and Ms. Whitsett’s assessment of the design of the control stimulus, the answers respondents provided to the open-ended questions, thoughts on the population surveyed, and how these important factors of the survey design led to the outcome of the case.