TMEP 1204.01(b): Stylized Flag Designs are not Refused under §2(b)

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1204.01(b)    Stylized Flag Designs are not Refused under §2(b)

Marks containing elements of flags in a stylized or incomplete form are not refused under §2(b). The mere presence of some significant elements of flags, such as stars and stripes (U.S. flag) or a maple leaf (Canadian flag), does not necessarily warrant a refusal.

If the flag design fits one of the following scenarios, the examining attorney should not refuse registration under §2(b):

  • The flag design is used to form a letter, number, or design.
  • The flag is substantially obscured by words or designs.
  • The design is not in a shape normally seen in flags.
  • The flag design appears in a color different from that normally used in the national flag.
  • A significant feature is missing or changed.

Examples. The following are examples of stylized designs that are registrable under §2(b):

Flag Forms Another Design, Number, or Letter - No §2(b) Refusal

Outline of continental USA with American flag as the background of the country and with the words "Stateside USA"
License plate design with the words "USA ROADSIDE" and with "USA" having an American flag background

Flag Is Substantially Obscured By Other Matter - No §2(b) Refusal

The acronym "S.A.V.E." with stars for periods and the words "Support American Volunteer Efforts" below, all on an American flag backround.

Flag Design Is Not In the Normal Flag Shape - No §2(b) Refusal

The words "Government Convention Emerging Technologies" with a black base and a partial outline of an American flag to the right such that the whole gives the impression of a semi truck with trailer.
Two vertical American flags

Significant Feature of the Flag Is In a Different Color - No §2(b) Refusal

American flag with red, white, and green stripes and the wording "This land is Mi Tierra"

NOTE: Stripes in flag are red, white, and green.

Significant Feature Is Changed - No §2(b) Refusal

American flag with the stars in the shape of a "U"