TMEP 906.02: Improper Use of Registration Symbol

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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906.02    Improper Use of Registration Symbol

Improper use of the federal registration symbol that is deliberate and intended to deceive or mislead the public is fraud. See TMEP §906.04.  However, misunderstandings about use of federal registration symbols are more frequent than occurrences of actual fraudulent intent.  Common reasons for improper use of the federal registration symbol that do not indicate fraud are:

  • Mistake as to the requirements for giving notice (confusion often occurs between notice of trademark registration, which may not be given until after registration, and notice of claim of copyright, which must be given before publication by placing the notice © on material when it is first published);
  • Inadvertence in not giving instructions (or adequate instructions) to the printer, or misunderstanding or voluntary action by the printer;
  • The mistaken belief that registration in a state or foreign country gives a right to use the registration symbol ( see Brown Shoe Co. v. Robbins, 90 USPQ2d 1752 (TTAB 2009); Du-Dad Lure Co. v. Creme Lure Co., 143 USPQ 358 (TTAB 1964) );
  • Registration of a portion of the mark ( see Coca-Cola Co. v. Victor Syrup Corp., 218 F.2d 596, 104 USPQ 275 (C.C.P.A. 1954) );
  • Registration of the mark for other goods ( see Duffy-Mott Co. v. Cumberland Packing Co., 424 F.2d 1095, 165 USPQ 422 (C.C.P.A. 1970), aff’g154 USPQ 498 (TTAB 1967); Meditron Co. v. Meditronic, Inc., 137 USPQ 157 (TTAB 1963) );
  • A recently expired or cancelled registration of the subject mark ( see Rieser Co. v. Munsingwear, Inc., 128 USPQ 452 (TTAB 1961));
  • Another mark to which the symbol relates on the same label ( see S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. v. Gold Seal Co., 90 USPQ 373 (Comm’r Pats. 1951)).

See also Sauquoit Paper Co. v. Weistock, 46 F.2d 586, 8 USPQ 349 (C.C.P.A. 1931); Dunleavy Co. v. Koeppel Metal Furniture Corp., 134 USPQ 450 (TTAB 1962), aff’d, 328 F.2d 939, 140 USPQ 582 (C.C.P.A. 1964); Radiant Mfg. Corp. v. Da-Lite Screen Co., 128 USPQ 132 (TTAB 1961); Tobacco By-Products & Chem. Corp. v. Smith, 106 USPQ 293 (Comm’r Pats. 1955), modified243 F.2d 188, 113 USPQ 339 (C.C.P.A. 1957).