TMEP 904.04(b): Advertising Material

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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904.04(b)    Advertising Material

Advertising material is generally not acceptable as a specimen for goods.  Any material whose function is merely to tell the prospective purchaser about the goods, or to promote the sale of the goods, is unacceptable to support trademark use.  Similarly, informational inserts are generally not acceptable to show trademark use. In re MediaShare Corp., 43 USPQ2d 1304 (TTAB 1997); In re Schiapparelli Searle, 26 USPQ2d 1520 (TTAB 1993); In re Drilco Indus. Inc., 15 USPQ2d 1671 (TTAB 1990); In re ITT Rayonier Inc., 208 USPQ 86 (TTAB 1980); In re Bright of Am., Inc., 205 USPQ 63 (TTAB 1979).  However, an instruction sheet may be an acceptable specimen. See In re Ultraflight Inc., 221 USPQ 903 (TTAB 1984).  See TMEP §904.03(j) regarding manuals and TMEP §904.04(c) regarding package inserts.

The following types of items are generally considered advertising, and unless they comprise point-of-sale material, are not acceptable as specimens of use on goods:  advertising circulars and brochures; price lists; announcements; press releases; listings in trade directories; business cards; and online advertising banners appearing on search-engine results pages or in social media.  Moreover, material used by the applicant to conduct its internal business is unacceptable as a specimen of use on goods.  These materials include all documents whose sole function is to carry out the applicant’s business dealings, such as invoices, bill heads, waybills, warranties, and business stationery. See In re Chicago Rawhide Mfg. Co., 455 F.2d 563, 173 USPQ 8 (C.C.P.A. 1972); In re Bright of Am., 205 USPQ at 65; Upco Co. v. Speed Crete of La., Inc., 154 USPQ 555 (TTAB 1967); Dynacolor Corp. v. Beckman & Whitley, Inc., 134 USPQ 410 (TTAB 1962); Pendleton Woolen Mills v. Eloesser-Heynemann Co., 133 USPQ 211 (TTAB 1962); Varian Assocs. v. IMAC Corp., 160 USPQ 283 (N.D. Ill. 1968); Boss Co. v. Homemaker Rugs, Inc., 117 USPQ 255 (N.D. Ill. 1958).

Material that would otherwise be considered mere advertising may be acceptable as a specimen of use for goods if it includes a photograph of the applied-for mark appearing on the goods or on packaging for the goods. See TMEP §§904.02(b), 904.03, 904.03(b), 904.03(c).

As to display of trademarks on company uniforms, see In re McDonald’s Corp., 199 USPQ 702 (TTAB 1978); Toro Mfg. Corp. v. John B. Stetson Co., 161 USPQ 749 (TTAB 1969).

Bags and other packaging materials bearing the name of a retail store and used by the store merely for packaging items of sold merchandise are not acceptable to show trademark use of the store name for the products sold by the store (e.g., bags at cash register).  When used in this manner, the name merely identifies the store. See In re The Pa. Fashion Factory, Inc., 198 USPQ 568 (TTAB 1978), aff’d,588 F.2d 1343, 200 USPQ 140 (C.C.P.A. 1978).