TMEP 1202.18(a): Disclaiming HASHTAG or Hash Symbol
October 2017 Edition of the TMEP
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1202.18(a) Disclaiming HASHTAG or Hash Symbol
A mark may be registrable with a disclaimer of the wording HASHTAG or the hash symbol in cases where they are separable from other registrable matter. Therefore, if a mark consists of the hash symbol or the term HASHTAG combined with wording that is distinctive for the goods or services, the hash symbol or the term HASHTAG should be disclaimed.
# INGENUITY for business consultation services is registrable with a disclaimer of the hash symbol
TMARKEY #SKATER for skateboarding equipment is registrable with a disclaimer of "# SKATER"
Cf. TMEP §1215.07 for further information and analogous examples.
When a mark containing the hash symbol or the term HASHTAG is unitary with other arbitrary or suggestive wording in the mark, (e.g., #SLUGGERTIME for clothing, #DADCHAT for counseling services, and HASHTAGWALKING for entertainment services), no descriptive or generic refusal or disclaimer is required. However, such marks must still be evaluated to confirm that they function as source indicators for the goods or services. If the specimen shows the hash symbol or the term HASHTAG in a proposed mark as merely a tag used to reference or organize keywords or topics of information to facilitate searching a topic, the relevant public will not view the hash symbol or the term HASHTAG in the mark as identifying the source of the goods or services. In such cases, registration must be refused under Trademark Act Sections 1, 2, and 45, 15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1052, 1127, for trademarks, and Trademark Act Sections 1, 2, 3, and 45, 15 U.S.C. §§1051-1053, 1127, for service marks. Cf. In re Roberts, 87 USPQ2d 1474 (TTAB 2008); In re Eilberg, 49 USPQ2d 1955 (TTAB 1998); TMEP §1215.02(a).
For example, if the proposed mark #SEWFUN for instruction in the field of sewing appears on a specimen comprising a screenshot of a social networking site used merely to organize users’ comments about sewing classes applicant offers, the mark must be refused registration for failure to function as a service mark.