1004.01(a) Status of the Foreign Registration
The foreign registration must be in force at the time the United States issues the registration based on that foreign registration. In re Societe D’Exploitation de la Marque Le Fouquet’s, 67 USPQ2d 1784 (TTAB 2003); Marie Claire Album S.A. v. Kruger GmbH & Co. KG, 29 USPQ2d 1792 (TTAB 1993); Fioravanti v. Fioravanti Corrado S.R.L., 230 USPQ 36 (TTAB 1986). Appendix B of this manual lists the terms of registration in various foreign countries.
If the record indicates that the foreign registration has expired or will expire before the U.S. registration will issue, the examining attorney must require that an applicant submit a certificate of renewal or other certification from the intellectual property office of the foreign country, or a copy of the foreign registration that shows that the foreign registration has been renewed and will be in force at the time the registration issues in the United States, along with an English translation. 37 C.F.R. §2.34(a)(3)(iii). See TMEP §1004.01(b) regarding translation of foreign registrations and renewal documents. A photocopy of the intellectual property office’s publications or a printout from the intellectual property office’s website is not sufficient to establish that the registration has been renewed in that country and is in full force and effect, unless accompanied by a certification from the issuing office. Currently, the only exception is for renewals of Singapore registrations. As of January 1, 2009, Singapore ceased issuing certificates confirming that a registration has been renewed. Therefore, a printout from the Singapore intellectual property office website showing the extended expiration date of the foreign registration is acceptable as proof of renewal.
Generally, the examining attorney must require proof of renewal if it appears that the foreign registration will expire within six months after the date of approval for publication. If the applicant states that renewal is pending in the foreign country, the examining attorney should suspend the application pending receipt of proof of renewal.
If an applicant submits a certified copy or certification of the foreign registration that is certified by the foreign government agency who issued the foreign registration, the examining attorney should inquire concerning renewal only if the certified copy of the foreign registration indicates that the registration will expire after the date on which the foreign government agency issued the certified copy or certification of the foreign registration. For example, if a certified copy of a foreign registration was issued by the trademark agency in the foreign country on January 5, 2009, and the certified copy indicates that the registration expired on June 1, 2008, no inquiry is necessary. The USPTO presumes that the foreign country would not have issued a certified copy of the registration unless the registration had been renewed. This applies only to a certified copy or certification issued by the foreign trademark agency. If the copy of the registration is not certified by the foreign trademark agency, and the record indicates that the foreign registration will expire before the U.S. registration will issue, the examining attorney must require that the applicant submit a copy of the foreign registration showing that the registration has been renewed.
If the examining attorney determines that the foreign registration is not in force, the examining attorney will refuse registration under §44(e) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1126(e). The applicant may amend the application to claim another basis. See TMEP §806.03 regarding amendments to the basis.
For information about recent changes in the term of registration in a foreign country, examining attorneys may consult resources such as Trademarks Throughout the World (Anne-Laure Covin, 5th ed. 2008) and World Trademark Law and Practice (Ethan Horwitz, 2d ed. 2008), available to USPTO employees in the Trademark Law Library. Additional resources are listed in Appendix B.