TMEP 1215.03: Surnames

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1215.03    Surnames

If a mark is composed of a surname and a non-source-identifying gTLD, the examining attorney must refuse registration because the mark is primarily merely a surname under Trademark Act §2(e)(4), 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(4), absent a showing of acquired distinctiveness under Trademark Act §2(f), 15 U.S.C. §1052(f). If the gTLD has no trademark significance, and the primary significance of a term is that of a surname, adding the gTLD to the surname does not alter the primary significance of the mark as a surname. Cf. In re I. Lewis Cigar Mfg. Co., 205 F.2d 204, 98 USPQ 265 (C.C.P.A. 1953) (S. SEIDENBERG & CO’S. for cigars held primarily merely a surname); In re Hamilton Pharms. Ltd., 27 USPQ2d 1939 (TTAB 1993) (HAMILTON PHARMACEUTICALS for pharmaceutical products held primarily merely a surname); In re Cazes, 21 USPQ2d 1796 (TTAB 1991) (BRASSERIE LIPP for restaurant services held primarily merely a surname where “brasserie” is a generic term for applicant’s restaurant services). See also TMEP §1211.01(b)(vi) regarding surnames combined with additional wording.