TMEP 1213.03(c): Pictorial Representations of Descriptive Matter

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1213.03(c)    Pictorial Representations of Descriptive Matter

An accurate pictorial representation of descriptive matter is equivalent to the written expression and, therefore, must be disclaimed pursuant to the same rules applicable to merely descriptive wording. See Thistle Class Ass’n v. Douglass & McLeod, Inc., 198 USPQ 504, 511-12 (TTAB 1978) (finding thistle design synonymous to the word "thistle," which is used in a descriptive sense to designate a class of sailboats).

A properly worded disclaimer would read as follows:

No claim is made to the exclusive right to use the design of ____ apart from the mark as shown.

No disclaimer of highly stylized pictorial representations of descriptive matter should be required because the design element creates a distinct commercial impression. See In re LRC Prods. Ltd., 223 USPQ 1250, 1252 (TTAB 1984) (holding outline of two gloved hands arbitrary and fanciful), and cases cited therein. Note: A map of the world or a depiction of a globe generally is not considered the pictorial equivalent of the terms "INTERNATIONAL," "GLOBAL," or "WORLDWIDE."