TMEP 1202.05(e): Written Descriptions of Color Marks

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1202.05(e)    Written Descriptions of Color Marks

The drawing of a proposed color mark must be supplemented with: (1) a claim that the color(s) is a feature of the mark; and (2) a statement in the "Description of the Mark" field naming the color(s) and describing where the color(s) appear(s) and how they are used on the mark. 37 C.F.R. §2.52(b)(1). See TMEP §§ 807.07–807.07(g) for color mark drawings and 808–808.03(f) for description of the mark.

The description of the mark must be clear and specific, use ordinary language, and identify the mark as consisting of the particular color as applied to the goods or services. If the color is applied only to a portion of the goods, the description must indicate the specific portion. Similarly, if the mark includes gradations of color, the description should so indicate. If the applicant is claiming a shade of color, the shade must be described in ordinary language, for example, "maroon," "turquoise," "navy blue," "reddish orange." This is required even if the applicant also describes the color using a commercial coloring system.

The applicant may not amend the description of the mark if the amendment is a material alteration of the mark on the drawing filed with the original application. 37 C.F.R. §2.72. See In re Thrifty, Inc., 274 F.3d 1349, 61 USPQ2d 1121 (Fed. Cir. 2001). Cf. In re Hacot-Colombier, 105 F.3d 616, 41 USPQ2d 1523 (Fed. Cir. 1997). See TMEP §§807.14–807.14(f) regarding material alteration.

The description of a color mark must be limited to a single mark, because only one mark can be registered in a single application. See In re Int'l Flavors & Fragrances Inc., 183 F.3d 1361, 51 USPQ2d 1513 (Fed. Cir. 1999); In re Hayes, 62 USPQ2d 1443 (TTAB 2002). See TMEP §§ 807.01 regarding drawing must be limited to a single mark and 1202.05(c) regarding color as a separable element.