TMEP 1304.03(b)(i): Matter that Does Not Function as a Membership Mark

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1304.03(b)(i)    Matter that Does Not Function as a Membership Mark

Whether matter functions as a collective membership mark is determined by the specimen and evidence of record. It is the use of the mark to indicate membership, rather than the character of the matter composing the mark, that determines whether a term or other designation is a collective membership mark. See Ex parte Grand Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa, 118 USPQ 467 (Comm’r Pats. 1958) (holding that use of Greek letter abbreviations on athletic jerseys did not function as collective membership marks indicating membership in Greek letter societies); In re Mountain Fuel Supply Co., 154 USPQ 384 (TTAB 1967) (holding that the design on a jewelry pin merely indicated longevity of service rather than membership in a collective organization). If a proposed mark does not function as a mark indicating membership, the examining attorney must refuse registration under §§1, 2, 4, and 45 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1052, 1054, 1127. See TMEP § 1304.03(b)(ii) regarding specimens showing use as degrees or titles. See TMEP § 904.07(b) for information about matter that fails to function as a trademark or service mark.