TMEP 1201.07(b)(iv): When the Record Contradicts an Assertion of Unity of Control

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1201.07(b)(iv)    When the Record Contradicts an Assertion of Unity of Control

In contrast to those circumstances where the relationship between the parties may support a presumption of unity of control or at least afford an applicant the opportunity to demonstrate unity of control, some relationships, by their very nature, contradict any claim that unity of control is present. For instance, if the relationship between the parties is that of licensor and licensee, unity of control will ordinarily not be present. The licensing relationship suggests ownership in one party and control by that one party over only the use of a specific mark or marks, but not over the operations or activities of the licensee generally. Thus, there is no unity of control and no basis for concluding that the two parties form a single source. Precisely because unity of control is absent, a licensing agreement is necessary. The licensing agreement enables the licensor/owner to control specific activities to protect its interests as the sole source or sponsor of the goods or services provided under the mark. Therefore, in these situations, it is most unlikely that an applicant could establish unity of control to overcome a §2(d) refusal.