TMEP 1202.02(c)(iii)(A): Functional Matter

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1202.02(c)(iii)(A)    Functional Matter

Since functional elements of a trade dress mark are unregistrable as a matter of law and cannot form part of the mark, a disclaimer is not an appropriate means of addressing functional matter in a trade dress mark. See In re Water Gremlin Co., 635 F.2d 841, 844, 208 USPQ 89, 91 (C.C.P.A. 1980) ("The examiner's requirement to delete the [functional] design (or show it in dotted lines) was entirely in order."); In re Famous Foods, Inc., 217 USPQ 177, 177 (TTAB 1983) (stating that functional "[f]eatures which are not being claimed as part of applicant's asserted [trade dress] mark should be shown in dotted lines"). Instead, if the mark is not overall functional, an amendment of the drawing must be required to depict any minor or insignificant functional elements in broken or dotted lines. Id.; see TMEP §1202.02(c)(i). However, if the mark is overall functional, registration must be refused under §2(e)(5) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(5).