Some Clarity On Surname Trademarks From USPTO

By Davide Schiavetti (September 14, 2017, 12:16 PM EDT) -- In August, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued Examination Guide 3-17, setting forth guidelines that effectively change the policies and procedures that address marks composed of terms that are "primarily merely a surname" under §2(e)(4) of the Lanham Act, and an additional term.

Before the introduction of the new guidelines, Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure §1211.01(b)(vi) regulated the issue and provided that if any additional wording — even when descriptive — was to be combined with a surname, the mark did not fall within §2(e)(4) and therefore was not considered "primarily merely a surname." While this regulation may appear to...

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