TMEP 1301.01(b)(ii): Warranty or Guarantee of Repair

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1301.01(b)(ii)    Warranty or Guarantee of Repair

While the repair of the goods of others is a recognized service, an applicant’s guarantee of repair of its own goods does not normally constitute a separate service, because that activity is ancillary to and normally expected in the trade. In re Orion Research Inc., 669 F.2d 689, 205 USPQ 688 (C.C.P.A. 1980) (guarantee of repair or replacement of applicant’s goods that is not separately offered, promoted, or charged for is not a service); In re Lenox, Inc., 228 USPQ 966 (TTAB 1986) (lifetime warranty that is not separately offered, promoted, or charged for is not a service).

However, a warranty that is offered or charged for separately from the goods, or is sufficiently above and beyond what is normally expected in the industry, may constitute a service. In re Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Am., Inc., 11 USPQ2d 1312 (TTAB 1989) (comprehensive automobile vehicle preparation, sales, and service program held to be a service, where applicant’s package included features that were unique and would not normally be expected in the industry); In re Sun Valley Waterbeds Inc., 7 USPQ2d 1825 (TTAB 1988) (retailer’s extended warranty for goods manufactured by others held to be a service, where the warranty is considerably more extensive than that offered by others); In re Otis Eng'g Corp., 217 USPQ 278 (TTAB 1982) (non-mandatory quality control and quality assurance services held to constitute a registrable service even though the services were limited to applicant’s own equipment, where the services were separately charged for, the goods were offered for sale without services, and the services were not merely a time limited manufacturer’s guarantee).

Providing warranties to consumers and retailers on power-operated outdoor products was held to be a registrable service where the warranty covered goods manufactured by applicant but sold under the marks of third-party retailers.  Noting that none of applicant’s trademarks appeared on the goods or identified applicant as the source of the goods, the Board found that the third-party retailers rather than applicant would be regarded as the manufacturer of the products.  Because purchasers would make a distinction between the provider of the warranty and the provider of the goods, applicant’s warranty service would not be regarded as merely an inducement to purchase its own goods.  The Board also noted that applicant’s activities constitute a service to the third-party retailers, because applicant’s provision of warranties avoids the need of the retailer itself to provide a warranty. In re Husqvarna Aktiebolag, 91 USPQ2d 1436 (TTAB 2009).

When an applicant offers a warranty on its own goods or services, the identification of services must include the word "extended," or similar wording, to indicate that the warranty is "qualitatively different" from a warranty normally provided ancillary to the sale of the applicant’s goods/services.  When an applicant offers a warranty on third-party goods, the identification of services must so indicate. See In re Omega SA, 494 F.3d 1362, 83 USPQ2d 1541 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (affirming that the USPTO has the discretion to determine whether and how a trademark registration should include a more particularized identification of the goods for which a mark is used).

The identification of services must also specify the item(s) that the extended warranty covers, e.g., "providing extended warranties on television sets." Id.

Extended warranty services are classified in Class 36.