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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Sep 20, 2017 (Newsletter Issue 16/17)
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New Examination Guide Available Now

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) informs on its website that the Exam Guide 2-17, "Merely Informational Matter," is now available on the Trademark Examination Guides page, along with the response to public comments on an earlier draft of the guide.

The guide clarifies the policies and procedures for examining certain types of proposed marks that consumers would view as merely communicating information other than the source of goods/services and thus fail to function as marks.

To help in determining whether a proposed mark functions as a mark, the guide:
- creates categories for some types of matter that may be considered merely informational
- sets forth relevant case law
- identifies when an examining attorney must refuse registration or require a disclaimer
- discusses an applicant’s response options
- provides over 20 pages of examples illustrating the concepts covered

This new exam guide supplements the current policies and procedures set out in Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) §1202.04.