TMEP 1205.01(a): Examination Procedures for Marks Comprising a Red Crystal or Red Crescent on a White Background, or the Phrases “Red Crescent” or “Third Protocol Emblem”

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1205.01(a)    Examination Procedures for Marks Comprising a Red Crystal or Red Crescent on a White Background, or the Phrases “Red Crescent” or “Third Protocol Emblem”

On December 8, 2005, the United States signed the Third Protocol Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem (the “Protocol”). The Protocol creates two new distinctive emblems: (1) the Third Protocol Emblem, composed of a red diamond on a white background (shown below); and (2) the Red Crescent, composed of a red crescent on a white background (shown below).

Design of the Third Protocol Emblem, composed of a red diamond on a white background
Design of a Red Crescent, composed of a red crescent on a white background

Effective January 12, 2007, Public Law 109-481, 120 Stat. 3666, created a new criminal statutory provision, 18 U.S.C. §706a, to prohibit the use of the distinctive emblems the Red Crystal and the Red Crescent, or any imitation thereof, as well as the designations “Third Protocol Emblem” and “Red Crescent,” except by those authorized to wear, display, or use them under the provisions of the Geneva Conventions. Geneva Distinctive Emblems Protection Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-481, 120 Stat. 3666 (2007). The statute carves out an exception for use of any such emblem, sign, insignia, or words that were lawfully used on or before December 8, 2005, if use of these would not appear in time of armed conflict to confer the protections of the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949. Id. The provisions of 18 U.S.C. §706a closely mirror the existing provision in 18 U.S.C. §706 for the American National Red Cross (see TMEP §1205.01).