Repeating-Patterns Examination Guide

Showing Acquired Distinctiveness for a Repeating Pattern Mark

The draft examination guide says that evidence of five years' use will be insufficient to overcome a refusal on the basis that a repeating pattern mark is not inherently distinctive; actual evidence will always be required. The guide cites to TMEP 1212.05(a) which states: "For matter that is not inherently distinctive because of its nature (e.g., nondistinctive product design, overall color of a product, mere ornamentation, and sounds for goods that make the sound in their normal course of operation), evidence of five years’ use is not sufficient to show acquired distinctiveness." It appears that non-inherently distinctive repeating pattern marks will now be added to this category, but I do not think that is appropriate, especially when the repeating pattern mark is not used in an ornamental fashion. This should not be an absolute rule.

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Idea No. 104