TMEP 1202.17(c)(i)(B): Ornamental Universal Symbols

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1202.17(c)(i)(B)    Ornamental Universal Symbols

Matter that serves only as an ornamental feature of goods does not identify and distinguish the goods and, thus, does not function as a trademark. TMEP §1202.03. Like any other design element, universal symbols may be used ornamentally on goods such as clothing, jewelry, fashion accessories, and household items. In these instances, the symbol’s position, prominence, and surrounding context on the specimen are particularly significant in determining whether the matter serves as ornamentation. For more information on the relevant considerations, see TMEP §§1202.03–1202.03(d).

The examining attorney should not suggest the usual response options for an ornamental refusal (i.e., showing secondary source, claiming acquired distinctiveness, or amending to the Supplemental Register) unless the mark is capable of serving as a trademark and does not also fail to function because it imparts information or conveys an informational message. See TMEP §1202.03.