TMEP 1202.05(d)(ii): Drawings of Color Marks in Service Mark Applications

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1202.05(d)(ii)    Drawings of Color Marks in Service Mark Applications

It is difficult to anticipate all of the issues that may arise when examining a proposed color mark for services because there are a myriad of ways that color can be used in connection with services. However, the following general guidelines will be used to determine the sufficiency of drawings in these cases:

  • The purpose of a drawing is to provide notice to the public of the nature of the mark. As with color used on goods, a color service mark does not consist of color in the abstract. Rather, the mark consists of color used in a particular manner, and the context in which the color is used is critical to provide notice of the nature of the mark sought to be registered. Therefore, as with color marks used on goods, a drawing, supplemented with a written description of the mark, is required.
  • The drawing must display the manner in which the mark is used in connection with the services. As with any application, only one mark can be registered in a single application. TMEP §807.01. The mark depicted on the drawing, as used on the specimen, must make a separate and distinct commercial impression in order to be considered one mark. See In re Thrifty, Inc., 274 F.3d 1349, 61 USPQ2d 1121 (Fed. Cir. 2001); In re Chem. Dynamics Inc., 839 F.2d 1569, 5 USPQ2d 1828 (Fed. Cir. 1988). See TMEP §1202.05(c) regarding color as a separable element.
  • If color is used in a variety of ways, but in a setting that makes a single commercial impression, such as a retail outlet with various color features, a broken-line drawing of the setting must be submitted, with a detailed description of the mark claiming the color(s) and describing the location of the color(s).
  • If an applicant who seeks to register a single color as a service mark used on a variety of items not viewed simultaneously by purchasers, e.g., stationery, uniforms, pens, signs, shuttle buses, store awning, and walls of the store, submits a drawing that displays the mark as a solid-colored square with a dotted peripheral outline, the application will receive a filing date. However, the examining attorney will generally require the applicant to submit a single amended drawing showing how the mark is used in connection with the services. The applicant must also submit a detailed description of the mark identifying the color and describing its placement. Thrifty, 274 F.3d at 1353, 61 USPQ2d at 1124. See TMEP §1202.05(c) regarding color as a separable element.
  • The commercial impression of a color may change depending on the object on which it is applied. See Thrifty, 274 F.3d at 1353, 61 USPQ2d at 1124.