TMEP 1213.08(b): Disclaimer of Unregistrable Matter in Its Entirety

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1213.08(b)    Disclaimer of Unregistrable Matter in Its Entirety

Unregistrable matter must be disclaimed in its entirety. For example, when requiring a disclaimer of terms that form a grammatically or otherwise unitary expression (e.g., "SHOE FACTORY, INC."), the examining attorney must require that they be disclaimed in their entirety. See, e.g., In re Med. Disposables Co., 25 USPQ2d 1801 (TTAB 1992) (finding MEDICAL DISPOSABLES to be a unitary expression that must be disclaimed as a composite); Am. Speech-Language-Hearing Ass’n v. Nat'l Hearing Aid Soc'y, 224 USPQ 798, 805 n.3 (TTAB 1984) (finding "CERTIFIED HEARING AID AUDIOLOGIST" to be "a unitary expression that should be disclaimed in its entirety"); In re Surelock Mfg. Co., 125 USPQ 23, 24 (TTAB 1960) (holding proposed disclaimer of "THE" and "RED" and "CUP" unacceptable to comply with requirement for disclaimer of "THE RED CUP," the Board concluding, "A disclaimer of the individual components of the term ‘THE RED CUP,’ under the circumstances, is meaningless and improper"); In re Wanstrath, 7 USPQ2d 1412, 1413 (Comm’r Pats. 1987) (denying petitioner’s request to substitute separate disclaimers of "GLASS" and "TECHNOLOGY" for the disclaimer of "GLASS TECHNOLOGY" in its registration of GT GLASS TECHNOLOGY in stylized form, the Commissioner finding "GLASS TECHNOLOGY" to be a unitary expression and noting, "Disclaimers of individual components of complete descriptive phrases are improper.").

However, separate disclaimers of adjacent components of a mark may be accepted where they do not form a grammatically or otherwise unitary expression, and each component retains its separate descriptive significance. In re Grass GmbH, 79 USPQ2d 1600 (TTAB 2006) (reversing requirement for unitary disclaimer of "SNAP ON 3000," and accepting separate disclaimers of "SNAP ON" and "3000.")