TMEP 1202.19(e)(iii): Response Options

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1202.19(e)(iii)    Response Options

If an applied-for mark is capable of serving as a source indicator, the applicant may respond to the refusal by submitting a substitute specimen showing use of the mark as a trademark or service mark, amending to the Supplemental Register, or claiming acquired distinctiveness under Trademark Act Section 2(f), if otherwise appropriate. For repeating-pattern marks that are capable of serving as source indicators but are not inherently distinctive, evidence of five years’ use, by itself, is insufficient to show acquired distinctiveness. See TMEP §1212.05(a). That is, actual evidence showing that consumers have come to recognize the applied-for mark as a source indicator will be required to establish acquired distinctiveness. See id.

Furthermore, for repeating-pattern marks used on goods, any showing of acquired distinctiveness must be made with respect to all of the identified goods for which the examining attorney has determined the mark is not inherently distinctive. For repeating-pattern marks used in connection with services, the evidence of acquired distinctiveness must establish that the mark, as used on all of the relevant items, has come to be perceived as a source indicator for the identified services.

See TMEP §816 regarding amendment to the Supplemental Register and TMEP §§1212-1212.10 regarding claims of acquired distinctiveness.

The applicant may also submit evidence of secondary source to establish that a repeating-pattern mark primarily serves a source-indicating function rather than merely serving as ornamentation. As discussed in TMEP §1202.03(c), there are a number of acceptable types of evidence for showing secondary source, such as proof of ownership of a use-based U.S. registration on the Principal Register for the same mark covering other goods or services. However, evidence of a series of ornamental uses of a repeating-pattern mark on various items will not establish that the proposed mark functions as an indicator of secondary source; use as a trademark or service mark for the other goods or services must be shown. TMEP §1202.03(c); see also In re Astro-Gods Inc., 223 USPQ 621, 622-24 (TTAB 1984).