TMEP 1206.05: Names and Likenesses That Do Not Identify a Particular Living Individual

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1206.05    Names and Likenesses That Do Not Identify a Particular Living Individual

If it appears that a name, portrait, or signature in a mark may identify a particular living individual but, in fact, the applicant devised the matter as fanciful, or believes it to be fanciful, the applicant may be required to submit a statement to that effect. See TMEP §1206.03 for information as to when an examining attorney should inquire as to whether a name or likeness is that of an individual.

The applicant should explain any additional relevant circumstances. For example, if the matter identifies a certain character in literature, or a deceased historical person, then a statement of these facts in the record may be helpful; however, this information will not be printed in the Official Gazette or on the registration certificate.

No statement should be printed unless the name or portrait might reasonably be perceived as that of a specific living individual. This is true even if the applicant submits an unsolicited statement that a particular name or portrait does not identify a living individual.

Generally, if the name or likeness is such that an inquiry would have been required as to whether it identifies a living individual (see TMEP §1206.03), and the applicant states that the mark does not identify a living individual, then the statement that the name or likeness does not identify a living individual should be printed. See TMEP §813.01(b).

If the applicant owns a valid registration for a mark comprised in whole or in part of the same name, portrait, or signature for any goods or services, and the record for the registration contains a statement that the name or likeness is not that of a living individual, the applicant should claim ownership of the registration and advise the examining attorney that the statement is of record therein. The examining attorney may then enter the same statement in the record for the application, even if applicant does not resubmit or reference the statement. It is not necessary to issue an inquiry in this situation.