TMEP 1214: “Phantom” Elements in Marks

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1214    “Phantom” Elements in Marks

In some applications, the applicant seeks to register a “phantom” element (i.e., a word, alpha-numeric designation, or other component that is subject to change) as part of a mark. The applicant represents the changeable or “phantom” element by inserting a blank, or by using dots, dashes, underlining, or a designation such as “XXXX.”

Examples include marks incorporating a date (usually a year), a geographic location, or a model number that is subject to change. While these are some of the most common examples of the types of elements involved, there are many variations.