Trademarks or Trade Names in a Claim
Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 10.2019, Last Revised in June 2020
Previous: §2173.05(t) | Next: §2173.05(v)
2173.05(u) Trademarks or Trade Names in a Claim [R-11.2013]
The presence of a trademark or trade name in a claim is not, per se, improper under 35 U.S.C. 112(b) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph, but the claim should be carefully analyzed to determine how the mark or name is used in the claim. It is important to recognize that a trademark or trade name is used to identify a source of goods, and not the goods themselves. Thus a trademark or trade name does not identify or describe the goods associated with the trademark or trade name. See definitions of trademark and trade name in MPEP § 608.01(v).
If the trademark or trade name is used in a claim as a limitation to identify or describe a particular material or product, the claim does not comply with the requirements of the 35 U.S.C. 112(b) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph. Ex parte Simpson, 218 USPQ 1020 (Bd. App. 1982). The claim scope is uncertain since the trademark or trade name cannot be used properly to identify any particular material or product. In fact, the value of a trademark would be lost to the extent that it became descriptive of a product, rather than used as an identification of a source or origin of a product. Thus, the use of a trademark or trade name in a claim to identify or describe a material or product would not only render a claim indefinite, but would also constitute an improper use of the trademark or trade name.
If a trademark or trade name appears in a claim and is not intended as a limitation in the claim, the question of why it is in the claim should be addressed. If its presence in the claim causes confusion as to the scope of the claim, then the claim should be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112(b) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph.