TMEP 1301.02(d): Titles of Radio and Television Programs

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1301.02(d)    Titles of Radio and Television Programs

The title of a continuing series of presentations (e.g., a television or movie "series," a series of live performances, or a continuing radio program), may constitute a mark for either entertainment services or educational services.  However, the title of a single creative work, that is, the title of one episode or event presented as one program, does not function as a service mark. In re Posthuma, 45 USPQ2d 2011 (TTAB 1998) (term that identifies title of a play not registrable as service mark for entertainment services).  The record must show that the matter sought to be registered is more than the title of one presentation, performance, or recording.  See TMEP §§1202.08 et seq. and cases cited therein for further information regarding the registrability of the title of a single creative work.

Specimens that show use of a service mark in relation to television programs or a movie series may be in the nature of a photograph of the video or film frame when the mark is used in the program.

Service marks in the nature of titles of entertainment programs may be owned by the producer of the show, by the broadcasting system or station, or by the author or creator of the show, depending upon the circumstances.  Normally, an applicant’s statement that the applicant owns the mark is sufficient; the examining attorney should not inquire about ownership, unless information in the record clearly contradicts the applicant’s verified statement that it is the owner of the mark.