TMEP 704.01: Initial Examination Must Be Complete

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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704.01    Initial Examination Must Be Complete

37 C.F.R. §2.61(a)

Applications for registration, including amendments to allege use under section 1(c) of the Act, and statements of use under section 1(d) of the Act, will be examined and, if the applicant is found not entitled to registration for any reason, applicant will be notified and advised of the reasons therefor and of any formal requirements or objections.

The initial examination of an application by the examining attorney must be a complete examination. A complete examination includes a search for conflicting marks and an examination of the written application, any voluntary amendment(s) or other documents filed by applicant before an initial Office action is issued, the drawing, and any specimen(s) or foreign registration(s), to determine whether the mark is eligible for the type of registration requested, whether amendment is necessary, and whether all required fees have been paid.

If, on initial examination, the examining attorney finds the mark in an application for registration on the Principal Register to be in condition for publication for opposition, the examining attorney will approve the application for publication. Similarly, if the examining attorney finds the mark in an application for registration on the Supplemental Register to be in condition for registration, the examining attorney will approve the application for registration. The USPTO will send a notice of publication or certificate of registration to the applicant in due course.

If the application is not in condition to be approved for publication or issue, the examining attorney will write, telephone, or e-mail the applicant, as appropriate, informing the applicant of the reason(s) why the mark may not be registered and of the defect(s) that can be corrected or amended to make the application acceptable.

The examining attorney’s first Office action must be complete, so the applicant will be advised of all requirements for amendment and all grounds for refusal, with the exception of use-related issues that are considered for the first time in the examination of an amendment to allege use under 15 U.S.C. §1051(c) or a statement of use under 15 U.S.C. §1051(d) in an intent-to-use application. See TMEP §§1102.01 and 1202–1202.16(c)(v)(B) regarding use-related issues that may be considered for the first time in the examination of an amendment to allege use or a statement of use. Every effort should be made to avoid piecemeal prosecution, because it prolongs the time needed to dispose of an application. See also TMEP §706 regarding new issues raised by the examining attorney after the first Office action.

Examining attorneys must also clearly explain all refusals and requirements. For example, if the identification of goods/services is indefinite, the examining attorney must explain why the identification is not acceptable and, if possible, suggest an acceptable identification. See TMEP §§705–705.08 for further information about examining attorneys’ Office actions.