A federal judge has upheld the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s refusal to register eight features of “iconic” Timberland boots as a trademark, finding the business failed to carry its burden to prove that the characteristics are nonfunctional or a unique indicator of the source of the boots.

In 2015, Timberland Licensing (TBL) filed a federal trademark application to register the Timberland Boot Trade Dress for “footwear, namely lace-up boots,” including the following: collar, two-toned sole, lug soles, hourglass heel counter, quad stitching, shape of the vamp stitching, hexagonal eyelets, and the bulbous toe box. However, a USPTO trademark examining attorney held that the alleged trade dress is functional, rather than nonfunctional, and ineligible for registration and that TBL failed to prove acquired distinctiveness.

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