Section 1052 Bars to Registration
- Immoral, deceptive, scandalous, or disparaging marks.
- Marks which resemble the flag or other insignia of the United States, a state or municipality, or a foreign nation.
- Marks which include the name, picture, or signature of a living person without that person’s consent.
- Marks which are confusingly similar to previously registered marks or marks previously used and not abandoned. This subsection contains extensive limitations and conditions.
- Merely descriptive marks or deceptively misdescriptive marks, geographic terms, surnames, and functional terms.
The “Interpretive Notes and Decisions” following
- The slogan “two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun” does more than merely describe the ingredients of a product; it distinctively identifies the product’s origin.
In re McDonald’s Corp., 199 U.S.P.Q. 490 (TMT App. Bd. 1978).
- “Farmcraft” as a mark for dairy and meat products is valid and able to be registered, even though “farm” and craft” are independently generic.
Henry Muhs Co. v. Farm Craft Foods, Inc., 37 F. Supp. 1013 (DC NY 1941).
- Where a boiler’s end plates are black to avoid discoloration from smoke, and the middle portion red to avoid discoloration from rust, the color scheme has a functional purpose and cannot be placed on the registry as a mark.
Weil-McClain Co. v. American Radiator Co., 19 C.C.P.A. 1137 (1932).
- Taking the canine used in a competitor’s symbol and displaying a similar dog in the act of defecation is disparaging and not able to be registered.
The Greyhound Corp. v. Both Worlds, Inc., 1988 TTAB Lexis 78 (1988).
- “The Memphis Mafia” does not disparage Italian-Americans and can be placed on the register.
Order of the Sons of Italy in America v. The Memphis Mafia, Inc., 1999 TTAB Lexis 311 (1999).