TMEP 1402.11(h): Identification of "Bonus Programs"

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1402.11(h)    Identification of "Bonus Programs"

Many businesses offer "bonus programs" or "frequent patron programs" to encourage patronage of that business.  However, promotion of one’s own goods or services is not considered a service under the Trademark Act since the beneficiary of such an activity is the business itself and not a third party. See TMEP §1301.01(b)(i).  These special programs do confer some benefit to the customers who participate in the program, but this benefit flows directly from use of the trademark owner’s goods or services.  Thus, a frequent flyer program provided by an airline to encourage use of its own air transportation services would be identified as "air transportation services featuring a frequent flyer bonus program" and it would be classified in Class 39.  Similarly, a retail store that has a program through which patrons earn points that result in discounts on future purchases at that store would be identified as "retail store services in the field of {indicate field or type of goods/services} featuring a frequent patron program in which points are accumulated to be used for discounts on future purchases."  This service would be in Class 35 because it is primarily a retail store service.  It should be noted that organizing and conducting a program of this type for a third party is a promotion/advertising service and would be classified in Class 35 and identified with language such as "promoting the goods and services of others by means of a point accumulation program with points used for discounts on future purchases of those goods and services" (or whatever the details of the program may be).