Skip to main content
Refusal on Basis of Ornamentation


I've devoted a few posts to the subject of trademarks and clothing lines but it wasn't until I was talking with a client yesterday that I realized I had answered the what but not the why.

I was explaining to the client that submitting a picture of a t-shirt with his clothing line name on the front would not suffice as proof of use for the USPTO. He then asked me why. After getting off the phone, I realized that while I had answered him I hadn't fully addressed it here.

The title of this post is the response you'd likely get from the USPTO if you submit a photo of a t-shirt with your name and/or logo displayed on the front.

What does refusal on basis of ornamentation mean exactly?


"Subject matter that is merely a decorative feature does not identify and distinguish the applicant’s goods and, thus, does not function as a trademark. A decorative feature may include words, designs, slogans or other trade dress. This matter should be refused registration because it is merely ornamentation and, therefore, does not function as a trademark"

Okay, let's explain that using non-legalese language. When an
in use USPTO application is submitted, a specimen must also be filed.

For clothing, a lot of folks make the guess that submitting a picture of one of their t-shirts with the name on the front will work. And that does seem to make a lot of sense. But when it comes to trademarks, you've got to "identify and distinguish" your name to your clothing.

This means that your name must be on a tag or a label that'd be attached to a garment that
identifies it as being the name of the line itself & not just part of the overall artwork applied to the front of the shirt.

If you've got a clothing line & aren't sure what would work as a specimen, feel free to email me at shannon@tmexpress.com & I'd be happy to go over your specific details with you.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trademark 101: State Trademark or Federal Trademark?

Now that you know what a trademark is, what a trademark isn’t, and that you should get a trademark, let’s explore if a State trademark or Federal trademark is most appropriate for your needs.
For the USA, trademarks can be obtained either at the State level or the Federal level. So, which do you need? I’ll explain both and that’ll give you a clearer picture as where to go from here.
First and foremost, a State trademark gives you trademark protection for that specific state whereas a Federal trademark gives you trademark protection nationwide. Simple enough, yes? But, which is the right trademark for your needs?
1)Are you actively in business? 2)Are you only doing business in one city or county or just statewide?
If you answered yes to both, then exploring a State trademark is your next step. Here are some advantages to a State trademark:
·The right to expand statewide. The name will be waiting for you in other metros. ·If another mark is infringing upon yours within the state, you’ll have a…

Beware of Official-y Correspondence

Once you get that trademark filed be aware that your information is of public record, which means, unfortunately, some will mine that resource & some of those folks will send you solicitations. 
These solicitations often look very official, and "may use names that resemble the USPTO name, including, for example, one or more of the terms "United States," “U.S.,” "Trademark," "Patent," "Registration," "Office," or "Agency."  
Some will even have documents that resemble actual government documents rather than what you'd expect a company to send and this is often done by "emphasizing official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records."
Most of these are asking you for money. That's your major warning flag.
"All official correspondence will be from the …

$50 Discount: Ends Wednesday, July 20th - Mention the Blog When Ordering

$50 DISCOUNT! Exclusively for you Comprehensive Research & Analysis: Federal/State Trademark & Common-Law Federal Trademark Application Order by Wednesday, July 20! 800-776-0530

So, you finally settled on the perfect name for your product or service – that's fantastic! Finding just the right name is vitally important to the success of any product line or service.
Or, perhaps, we've already searched & filed a trademark for you. If it's been a couple of years, have you had protective research conducted? Do you have a logo or a slogan or a new product/service name?
Regardless if you're new to the world of trademarks or have already gone 'round once, let's walk through a quick primer. Protecting your brand is a vital part of your overall business plan.
Trademark Step-by-Step Primer
1) Is it required that I register my trademark?
No, not at all. However, registering your trademark, specifically your Federal trademark, does provide you with several advantages:
* Pu…