TMEP 1202.09(b): Names of Artists Used on Original Works of Art

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1202.09(b)    Names of Artists Used on Original Works of Art

An artist’s name or pseudonym affixed to an original work of art may be registered on the Principal Register without a showing that the name identifies a series. Original works of art includes paintings, murals, sculptures, statues, jewelry, and like works that the artist personally creates. In In re Wood, 217 USPQ 1345, 1350 (TTAB 1983), the Board held that the pseudonym YSABELLA affixed to an original work of art functioned as a mark. The Board has expressly limited this holding to cases involving original works of art, stating in Wood that “[l]est we be accused of painting with too broad a brush, we hold only that an artist’s name affixed to an original work of art may be registered as a mark and that here applicant’s name, as evidenced by some of the specimens of record [the signature of the artist on a work of art], functions as a trademark for the goods set forth in the application.” In In re First Draft, 76 USPQ2d 1183, 1190 (TTAB 2005), the Board again stated that “Wood is limited in its application to cases involving original works of art and there is nothing to indicate that the panel deciding that case considered novels to be encompassed by the phrase original works of art.”