TMEP 1202.07(a): Marks That Identify Columns or Sections of Printed Publications

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1202.07(a)    Marks That Identify Columns or Sections of Printed Publications

A column, section, or supplement of a printed publication is normally not considered to be separate "goods" or "goods in trade," unless it is sold, syndicated, or offered for syndication separate and apart from the larger publication in which it appears. In re Broad. Publ'ns,, 135 USPQ 374 (TTAB 1962); Ex parte Meredith Publ'g, 109 USPQ 426 (Comm’r Pats. 1956). This is true even of a removable or separable "pullout" section of a newspaper or other publication. In Meredith, the issue was analyzed as follows:

The basic question is whether or not, under the circumstances of use, the section title is a name adopted and used by the publisher to identify his goods and distinguish them from those of others. The "goods" actually are magazines-not sections of magazines. When the magazine is purchased, the purchaser receives the sections whether he wants them or not, and it is doubtful that magazine readers ordinarily purchase a magazine merely to receive a section of it, or think of a magazine merely in terms of a section title. Sections of magazines are not in and of themselves articles of commerce other than as a part of an integrated whole; and we must therefore be concerned with whether a section title actually identifies and distinguishes, and if so, what it distinguishes. Under these circumstances it becomes necessary to ask: Was the mark adopted to identify a section of applicant’s magazine and distinguish it from sections of other publishers’ magazines, or was it adopted to distinguish one section of applicant’s magazine from the other sections of its magazine? Ordinarily, it is the latter (emphasis in original).

109 USPQ at 426.

The examining attorney may accept the statement of the applicant or applicant’s attorney that the column is syndicated. It is not necessary to set this forth in the identification of goods.