1202.16(c)(v)(A) Model Designations
In §1(b), 44, or 66(a) applications, marks that appear to be merely model designations (either wholly comprising the mark or used with descriptive/generic/informational matter) may be refused registration for failure to function as a mark only where the drawing and mark description are dispositive of the mark’s failure to function, or the record clearly and unequivocally indicates that the entire mark identifies only a model designation. Cf. In re Right-On Co., 87 USPQ2d 1152, 1156-57 (TTAB 2008) (affirming an ornamentation refusal in a §66(a) application despite the lack of a specimen since the mark was decorative or ornamental on its face as depicted on the drawing page and described in the application). For those rare cases where a refusal issues in a §66(a) application, the examining attorney must not offer an amendment to the Supplemental Register. Applications filed under §66(a) are not eligible for registration on the Supplemental Register. 37 C.F.R. §§2.47(c), 2.75(c); TMEP §816.01; see also 15 U.S.C. §1141h(a)(4). Otherwise, because of the lack of specimen of use, a failure-to-function refusal is inappropriate.
If upon initial examination of a §1(b) application, an examining attorney must issue an Office action for other reasons, and the proposed mark appears to be used or intended to be used merely as a model designation, the examining attorney should include a model designation failure-to-function advisory as a courtesy to the applicant. See TMEP §1102.01. Regardless of whether an examining attorney issues an initial advisory before the applicant files an allegation of use, the examining attorney must issue a refusal based on failure to function as a mark after the allegation of use is filed, if supported by the evidence of record. Id.