If not NOW,
On April 15, a company called E. Gluck Corporation filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District an uncomplicated, eight-page complaint alleging infringement upon a registered trademark it owns by another company, one Strickland Fuller Partnership. The plaintiff company “creates, designs, and has manufactured for sale watches.”
“The trademarks owned by plaintiff include the NOW trademark at issue herein.”
Yes, the trademark owned by the plaintiff, “extensively advertised and promoted” by the plaintiff, and now allegedly being used in violation of the law by the defendant in connection with the sale of other watches (albeit in the phrase Now is the time, “with the NOW portion… highlighted”) is the word NOW.
Allegedly, since 1986, E. Gluck Corporation has “continuously marketed and sold millions of watches under its NOW trademark… nationwide to the public through thousands of retailers and on the [I]nternet.” The NOW mark is registered with the USPTO in connection with watches. The registration is incontestable, constituting prima facie evidence of the plaintiff’s ownership of the mark and its exclusive right to use the mark in connection with the sale of watches.
Indubitably, the USPTO would not (have) register(ed) the word WATCH* for use with watches. Or TIME.** Next on that list should be NOW. (After that might be WHEN.)
How is the word “now” not generic when used in connection with the sale of watches—items whose primary function and purpose is to tell you what now is? That is, when is now? That is, it is always now, but when, specifically, is now? In terms of time? What time is it (now)? Look at your watch.
Even if NOW is not a generic term in connection with the sale of timepieces—devices designed to keep track of now—the phrase “now is the time” is so banal, so bland, and so… well, generic itself as to hardly rise (or sink) to the level of infringement of the word NOW (it seems to this writer, anyway). Now is always the time, after all. No?
UPDATE: Per PACER, the case was stipulated dismissed in October 2013. No terms reported.
*Although there is, of course, SWATCH.