Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New PTO Rules Require Applicant to Describe Mark if not in Standard Characters

Effective May 13, 2008, the PTO Rules will require a description of the mark in every application to register a mark not in standard characters. See "Changes in the Requirement for a Description of the Mark in Trademark Applications," Federal Register, Vol. 73, No. 11 (March 14, 2008), Pages 13780-13784 (pdf here).

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") amends the Rules of Practice in Trademark Cases to require a description of the mark in all applications to register a mark not in standard characters. This requirement will facilitate more accurate and comprehensive design coding and pseudo-mark data determinations, and therefore will promote better searchability of marks within the USPTO trademark database. The USPTO will maintain its practice of printing the description of a mark on the certificate of registration only when the USPTO deems the description necessary to clarify what is claimed in the mark.

Currently, the rules provide that a description "may be included in the application and must be included if required by the trademark examining attorney." Rule 2.37.

Comments submitted with regard to the proposed changes, along with the PTO's responses thereto, are found in the CFR notice above.


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