TMEP 1211.01(b): Surname Combined with Additional Matter

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1211.01(b)    Surname Combined with Additional Matter

Often a mark will be comprised of a word that, standing by itself, would be primarily merely a surname, coupled with additional matter (e.g., letters, words, or designs). The question remains whether the mark sought to be registered as a whole would be perceived by the public primarily merely as a surname. In re Hutchinson Tech. Inc., 852 F.2d 552, 554, 7 USPQ2d 1490, 1492 (Fed. Cir. 1988). The determination involves assessing the distinctiveness of the additional matter and whether its addition to the surname alters the primary significance of the mark as a whole to the purchasing public. Earnhardt v. Kerry Earnhardt, Inc., 864 F.3d 1374, 123 USPQ2d 1411, 1415 (Fed. Cir. 2017). See TMEP §§1211.01(b)(i)–1211.01(b)(viii) for additional information about surnames combined with additional matter.