TMEP 1904.02(c)(iv): Examination of Proposed Amendments and Issuance of Final Requirements for an Acceptable Identification

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1904.02(c)(iv)    Examination of Proposed Amendments and Issuance of Final Requirements for an Acceptable Identification

If, in response to the Office action, an applicant proposes an amendment that: (1) remains unacceptably indefinite; (2) is beyond the scope of the original wording; or (3) is beyond the scope of the class, the examining attorney must refuse to accept the amendment.  If the proposed amendment raises no new issues and the application is otherwise in condition for a final action, the examining attorney must issue a final requirement for an acceptable identification.

The basis for refusing an unacceptably indefinite identification is the requirement for a list of "particular goods or services" in a complete application. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(6).  Trademark Rule 2.71(a) provides the basis for refusal of a proposed amendment that exceeds the scope of the originally identified goods/services, including wording beyond the scope of the class of the international registration.  The applicant is not bound by the scope of the language in the unacceptable amendment but, rather, by the language of the identification before the proposed amendment. See TMEP §1402.07(d).  The examining attorney should also advise the applicant that the previous items listed in the existing identification (not the unacceptable substitute) remain operative for purposes of future amendment.  Once an applicant amends the identification of goods/services in a manner that is acceptable to the examining attorney, the amendment replaces all previous identifications, and thus restricts the scope of goods/services to that amended language. See TMEP §1402.07(e).

The examining attorney may suggest – but must not require – that the applicant delete an unacceptable term or phrase or proposed goods/services entry that fall outside the scope of the class.  If the application contains acceptable goods/services that can be approved for publication, and would otherwise be in condition for a partial abandonment advisory, the examining attorney should indicate that if an acceptable response is not received, the unacceptable goods/services will be abandoned and the application will proceed with the acceptable items only.  See TMEP §718.02(a) regarding partial abandonment.

If deletion or abandonment of an unacceptable term or phrase would result in deletion of all goods/services from the §66(a) application, the examining attorney must not suggest that the applicant delete the unacceptable wording. Instead, the examining attorney must continue to require an acceptable amendment, making the requirement final if appropriate.

If it appears that there is an error in classification, the examining attorney may suggest the applicant contact the IB to request correction of or a limitation to the international registration.  The USPTO will not suspend prosecution of the application unless the applicant requests suspension in a timely response to an Office action and supports the request with a copy of the request for correction or request to record a limitation filed with the IB. See TMEP §716.02(g). The applicant may also appeal the final identification requirement to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board or petition the Director under 37 C.F.R. §2.146 to review the requirement, if permitted by 37 C.F.R. §2.63(b)(2). See TMEP §1501.01 regarding appealable matter and TMEP §1704 regarding petitionable subject matter.