TMEP 1203.02(f)(i): Amending the Identification of Goods or Services

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1203.02(f)(i)    Amending the Identification of Goods or Services

Generally, an applicant may avoid or overcome a deceptiveness refusal by amending the identification of goods or services, if accurate, to include the potentially deceptive term. For deceptiveness refusals based on the material composition of the goods, if the applicant amends the identification to include the potentially deceptive term, the USPTO will rely on the presumption that the goods contain a sufficient amount of the material to obviate deceptiveness; there is no requirement to substantiate the amount or percentage of the material or feature in the goods. Thus, the applicant may amend “ties” to “silk ties,” “milk and cheese” to “organic milk and cheese,” and “jewelry” to “gold jewelry” or to “jewelry made in whole or significant part of gold.”

The Office construes the wording "made in significant part of" as indicating that the goods contain a sufficient amount of the named ingredient/material composition to meet the standard for use of the term in the relevant industry. In the case of "coats made in significant part of leather," such wording would be construed to mean that the "coats" contain a sufficient amount of leather to be called "leather coats" in the relevant industry. However, the wording "coats made in part of leather" is not acceptable because, although the goods may contain some leather, it may not be an amount sufficient for the goods to be called “leather coats” in the relevant industry.

Note, however, that amending the identification to exclude goods made from the named ingredient or material composition will not avoid or overcome a deceptiveness refusal.

Amending an identification of services to add “featuring” or “including” a material term (e.g., “restaurants featuring organic cuisine” and “retail furniture stores including leather furniture”) generally is sufficient to obviate deceptiveness. For example, as long as the identification indicates that the restaurant provides organic cuisine, or the furniture store sells leather furniture, there is no deception even if other types of food or furniture are also available.