1806 Contacts with Third Parties Regarding Ex Parte Matters
An examining attorney or other USPTO employee may not discuss the merits of any particular application or registration with a third party. If a third party attempts to contact an examining attorney about an ex parte matter, either orally or in writing, the examining attorney should refer the third party to the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Examination Policy. See TMEP §§1715 et seq. regarding letters of protest.
An examining attorney may contact those in the relevant trade to obtain generally available information about an industry and its marketing practices, but the inquiry must be limited to eliciting factual information. It is inappropriate to discuss or request opinions about the registrability of a particular mark. See In re Lutron Electronics Co. Inc., 8 USPQ2d 1701 (Comm'r Pats. 1988).