TMEP 705.05: Citation of Decisions and USPTO Publications

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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705.05    Citation of Decisions and USPTO Publications

When citing court or administrative decisions, the United States Patents Quarterly (USPQ or USPQ2d) citation should be given.  If possible, a parallel citation to the United States Reports (U.S.), Federal Reporter (F., F.2d, or F.3d), or Federal Supplement (F. Supp. or F. Supp.2d) should also be given.  The court or tribunal (2d Cir., C.C.P.A., Fed. Cir., TTAB, etc.) and the date of the decision should always be given.

When citing to a decision that is published and reported only in LexisNexis® and/or Westlaw®, for which there are no official print versions, the citing party should provide the name of the research service, case name, proceeding name and docket number, database identifier, court name, date, and screen, page, or paragraph numbers, if assigned.  When citing to an unpublished decision of the Board, the examining attorney must either provide the Board’s TTABVUE website address and explain how the applicant may locate and view the decision, or append the decision to the Office action.

Non-Precedential Decisions.  Prior to December 27, 2006, it was the policy of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that Board opinions not designated as precedential should not be cited and, if cited, were to be disregarded. Gen. Mills Inc. v. Health Valley Foods, 24 USPQ2d 1270, 1275 n.9 (TTAB 1992).  The Board has changed that policy.  In announcing the change, the Board stated that:

[T]he Board will henceforth permit citation to any TTAB disposition as follows:

  • The TTAB will continue its current practice of designating all final decisions as either precedential or not precedential.  Unless specifically designated as precedential, an order on a motion should be considered not precedential.
  • The TTAB will continue its practice of considering precedential decisions as binding upon the TTAB.
  • A decision designated as not precedential is not binding upon the TTAB but may be cited for whatever persuasive value it might have.
  • Citation to all TTAB decisions should be to the United States Patent Quarterly, if the decision appears therein; otherwise, to a USPTO public electronic database.  If a non-precedential decision does not appear in the United States Patent Quarterly or the USPTO's public electronic databases, the citing party should append a copy of the decision to the motion or brief in which the decision is cited.
  • Decisions of other tribunals may be cited to the extent allowed and for the purposes permitted by the tribunal that issued the decision.

Citation of Opinions to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, OG Notice ( Jan. 23, 2007).

The examining attorney may cite sections of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure ("TMEP") or Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Manual of Procedure ("TBMP").  The abbreviations "TMEP" and "TBMP" are usually sufficient; however, if the person prosecuting the application appears to be unfamiliar with USPTO practice, the examining attorney should identify the Manuals by their full names in the first citation to the Manuals.  It is not necessary to provide a copy of the relevant section(s) of the Manuals.

When the examining attorney cites a Director’s order or notice, the examining attorney should provide the title and date of the notice, and the specific issue of the Official Gazette in which it may be found.