TMEP 1205.01(c)(ii): Date of First Use Not Specified

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1205.01(c)(ii)    Date of First Use Not Specified

For applications filed under §1(b), §44, or §66(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051(b), §1126, or §1141f(a), or for applications filed under §1(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051(a), where the application fails to indicate the applicant’s date of first use of the mark in commerce, the examining attorney should presume that the date of first use in commerce is or will be after June 25, 1948, unless the application record indicates otherwise.

Although applications based on §1(b), §44, or §66(a) need not initially show actual use of the mark in commerce, applicants filing under these bases must have a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce. See TMEP §§10.8, 1009, 1101, 1102, 1904.01(c), 1904.01(d). Because “use in commerce” under the Trademark Act means “lawful use in commerce,” any intended use of the mark serving as the basis for these types of applications must also be lawful. See John W. Carson Found. v., Inc., 94 USPQ2d 1942, 1948 (TTAB 2010); In re Midwest Tennis & Track Co., 29 USPQ2d at 1386 n.2 (TTAB 1993); Clorox Co. v. Armour-Dial, Inc., 214 USPQ 850, 851 (TTAB 1982); In re Stellar Int’l, Inc., 159 USPQ 48, 50-51 (TTAB 1968); CreAgri, Inc. v. USANA Health Sciences, Inc., 474 F.3d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 2007) (“It has long been the policy of the PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that use in commerce only creates trademark rights when the use is lawful.... [W]e also agree with the PTO’s policy and hold that only lawful use in commerce can give rise to trademark priority.”) (citations omitted). With respect to a mark containing the Greek red cross on a white ground, or the designation “Red Cross” or “Geneva Cross,” actual lawful use in commerce is not possible and thus there can be no bona fide intent to lawfully use the mark in commerce. See John W. Carson Found., 94 USPQ2d at 1948. Therefore, it is appropriate to issue a refusal under §§1 and 45 for applications based on §1(b), §44, or §66(a) if the facts and available evidence support the conclusion that the mark contains the prohibited symbol or wording.