TMEP 1213.07: Removal Rather Than Disclaimer

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1213.07    Removal Rather Than Disclaimer

When it is not clear that matter forms part of a mark, the examining attorney must consider whether it is appropriate for the applicant to amend the drawing of the mark to remove the matter, rather than to disclaim it. See TMEP §807.14(a) regarding deletion of matter from the mark on a drawing. An applicant may not amend the drawing if the amendment would constitute a material alteration of the mark. 37 C.F.R. §2.72; TMEP §§807.14–807.14(f).

There are circumstances under which the applicant may omit or remove matter from the mark shown in the drawing, if the overall commercial impression is not altered. See Institut Nat’l Des Appellations D’Origine v. Vintners Int’l Co., 958 F.2d 1574, 1582, 22 USPQ2d 1190, 1197 (Fed. Cir. 1992); In re Servel, Inc., 181 F.2d 192, 85 USPQ 257 (C.C.P.A. 1950). However, matter may not be omitted from the drawing if the omission would result in an incomplete representation of the mark, sometimes referred to as "mutilation." See TMEP §807.12(d). In other words, the matter presented for registration must convey a single distinct commercial impression. If a mark is not unitary in this sense, it cannot be registered. See Dena Corp. v. Belvedere Int’l Inc., 950 F.2d 1555, 1561, 21 USPQ2d 1047, 1052 (Fed. Cir. 1991).