TMEP 1215.02(b): Advertising One’s Own Products or Services on the Internet is not a Service

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1215.02(b)    Advertising One’s Own Products or Services on the Internet is not a Service

Advertising one’s own products or services is not a "service" under the Trademark Act. In re Reichhold Chems., Inc., 167 USPQ 376 (TTAB 1970). See TMEP §§1301.01(a)(ii) and 1301.01(b)(i). Therefore, businesses that create a website for the sole purpose of advertising their own products or services cannot register a domain name used to identify that activity. In examination, the issue usually arises when the applicant describes the activity as a registrable service, e.g., "providing information about [a particular field]," but the specimen of use makes it clear that the website merely advertises the applicant’s own products or services. In this situation, the examining attorney must refuse registration because the mark is used to identify an activity that does not constitute a "service" within the meaning of the Trademark Act. The statutory basis for the refusal is Trademark Act §§1, 2, 3, and 45, 15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1052, 1053, and 1127.