[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 41 (Wednesday, March 2, 2011)]
[Pages 11432-11433]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-4618]



United States Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-T-2010-0090]

Coding of Design Marks in Registrations

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``USPTO'') is 
discontinuing the practice of coding newly registered trademarks that 
include a design element with design mark codes based on the old paper 
search designations. The USPTO will continue to code all pending 
applications that contain a design element using a numerical design 
code system modeled after the International Classification of the 
Figurative Elements of Marks (``USPTO Design Classification'').

DATES: Effective immediately.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia C. Lynch, Office of the Deputy 
Commissioner for Trademark Examination Policy, by telephone at (571) 



    Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 41(i)(1)-(2), the USPTO maintains a publicly 
available searchable collection of all United States trademark 
registrations in electronic form.
    On December 28, 2010, the USPTO published a notice and request for 
comments at 75 FR 81587, proposing to discontinue a secondary system of 
coding designs contained in registered marks. The USPTO received only 
one comment, from an organization supporting the proposed 
discontinuation and encouraging the USPTO to use the cost savings to 
develop and support electronic initiatives. This comment is posted on 
the Office's Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/law/FR_Notices_2010.jsp and is addressed below.
    The proposed discontinuation of the secondary system, the Trademark 
Search Facility Classification Code Index (``TC Index''), stems from 
its inferiority to the primary system of design coding, which is much 
more specific, precise and robust; the infrequent use of the TC Index 
codes in searches by the public; and its costliness to maintain, 
especially in proportion to the low usage of the system. The assignment 
of TC Index codes to active U.S. trademark registrations in the 
searchable electronic database costs approximately $531,000 per fiscal 
year for staffing, systems maintenance, and support costs.

Changes: USPTO Discontinuing TC Index Coding

    In view of the lack of any public comments opposing the 
discontinuation and the public comment supporting it, the USPTO is 
discontinuing the practice of design coding newly registered trademarks 
with TC Index codes. Terminating the dual design-coding system will 
result in cost savings and will free the USPTO staff to perform more 
valuable services for the public.
    All existing registrations coded with paper search designations 
will remain available in the Trademark Electronic Search System 
(``TESS'') and on microfilm. The USPTO has updated TESS Help to reflect 
that searching by the TC Index code will only retrieve registrations 
coded from August 28, 2007, through January 31, 2011. The USPTO 
strongly advises all users to rely solely on the primary system, Design 
Search Code (``DC'') field, in TESS when performing searches for 
pending applications and active registrations for marks that include a 
design element. The USPTO will continue to code all pending 
applications that contain a design element with the USPTO Design 
Classification shown in the DC field. Examining attorneys will continue 
to rely solely on the USPTO Design Classification for examining and 
approving applications for marks with design codes for Federal 

[[Page 11433]]

    Comment: The commenter supports the USPTO's decision to discontinue 
the TC Index and encourages the USPTO to redirect the resulting cost 
savings to assist users in electronic environments such as the 
Trademark Next Generation program.
    Response: Eliminating the TC Index coding will allow the USPTO to 
devote more of its limited resources to the maintenance and improvement 
of the USPTO Design Classification system, which provides the public 
with more precise search parameters than are possible with the TC Index 
codes. It will also allow the USPTO to devote more resources to 
enhancing electronic communications through the Trademarks Next 
Generation information technology initiative. In connection with this 
initiative, the USPTO is currently reviewing suggestions for 
improvements to the electronic systems and will begin implementing many 
of them in the coming months.
    The USPTO invests heavily in its publicly available electronic 
search systems to ensure their maintenance, and commits considerable 
resources to enhancing and improving electronic search capabilities. 
The USPTO is dedicated to ensuring the quality and accuracy of design 
coding under the USPTO Design Classification system. The USPTO Design 
Classification codes will continue to be subject to internal quality 
review and external review by applicants, registrants and the public, 
which further ensures correct design coding.
    Accordingly, the USPTO hereby gives notice that the USPTO is 
discontinuing coding design marks with paper search designations.

    Dated: February 24, 2011.
David J. Kappos,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2011-4618 Filed 3-1-11; 8:45 am]