TMEP 1202.17(e): Universal Symbols Commonly Appearing in Marks

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1202.17(e)    Universal Symbols Commonly Appearing in Marks

The universal symbols discussed below frequently appear in applied-for marks. Some of these symbols are so widely used and well known that they will have only non-trademark significance when used with almost any good or service in any context or field. Others will fail to function as source indicators only when used with particular goods or services. Nonetheless, all of these symbols could function as source indicators if they are displayed in the mark in a way that creates a distinct commercial impression or forms a source-indicating unitary whole. See TMEP §1202.17(b)(ii). Like any design element, all of these symbols may be used in an ornamental manner on goods and, if so, should be refused accordingly. Finally, depending on the particular facts and available evidence, other grounds for refusal may apply to marks containing these symbols (e.g., Section 2(e)(1), Section 2(d), Section 2(a)).