TMEP 803.04: Citizenship of Applicant
October 2017 Edition of the TMEP
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803.04 Citizenship of Applicant
An application for registration must specify the applicant’s citizenship or the state or nation under whose laws the applicant is organized. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3). If ambiguous terms are used, the examining attorney must require the applicant to clarify the record by setting forth the citizenship with greater specificity. For example, the term "American" is ambiguous because it could refer to a citizen of North, South, or Central America. Therefore, "United States," "United States of America," or "U.S.A." is the appropriate citizenship designation for applicants who are citizens of the United States of America. However, terms such as "Brazilian," Colombian," and "Welsh" are acceptable citizenship designations because each refers to a specific country.
An individual applicant should set forth the country of which he or she is a citizen. Current citizenship information must be provided; a statement indicating that the applicant has applied for citizenship in any country is not relevant or acceptable. If an individual is not a citizen of any country, a statement to this effect is acceptable.
If an applicant asserts dual citizenship, the applicant must choose which citizenship will be printed in the Official Gazette and on the registration certificate. The USPTO will print only one country of citizenship for each person in the Official Gazette and on the registration certificate, and the automated records of the USPTO will indicate only one country of citizenship for each person.
For a corporation, the application must set forth the United States state or foreign country of incorporation. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3)(ii).
Foreign entities may be organized under either national or provincial laws. However, the TEAS form requires an applicant to specify the state or foreign country under which it is legally organized, but does not permit an applicant to specify a foreign province or geographical region in this field. Therefore, if the applicant is organized under the laws of a foreign province or geographical region, the applicant should select as the entity type the choice of "Other," which will allow entry within the free-text field provided at "Specify Entity Type" of both the type of entity and the foreign province or geographical region under which it is organized (e.g., "corporation of Ontario"). In the next section, "State or Country Where Legally Organized," the country (e.g., "Canada") should then be selected from the pull-down menu.
For an association, the application must set forth the United States state or foreign country under whose laws the association is organized or incorporated. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3)(ii); see TMEP §803.03(c).
A partnership or other firm must set forth the United States state or foreign country under the laws of which the partnership is organized. Domestic partnerships must also provide citizenship information for each general partner in the partnership. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3)(iii). This requirement also applies to a partnership that is a general partner in a larger partnership. See TMEP §803.03(b) for the proper format for identifying a partnership. Given the varying legal effects of partnership status in foreign countries, the relevance of the name and citizenship information for each partner has not been established. Therefore, for foreign partnerships, it is not necessary to provide the names and citizenship of the partners. See TMEP §803.03(i) for further information about foreign applicant entities.
For joint applicants or a joint venture, the application should set forth the citizenship or United States state or foreign country of organization of each party. Domestic joint ventures must also provide citizenship information for all active members of the joint venture. 37 C.F.R. §2.32(a)(3)(iv). See TMEP §803.03(b) for the proper format for identifying a joint venture.
Section 66(a) Applications. In an application for international registration, the international application does not require the applicant to provide the entity and citizenship information. Common Regs, Rules 9(4)(b)(i)–(ii). However, when the information is included, the IB forwards it to the USPTO as part of the §66(a) application.
If the applicant is an individual, that is, a natural person, he or she must indicate his or her name and the country of which he or she is a national. If provided in the §66(a) application, this information appears in the Trademark database in the "Nationality of Applicant/Transferee/Holder" field, and the applicant’s citizenship is the country corresponding to the two-letter code set forth in this field. The list of country codes appears in the MM2 International Registration application form, which can be found at http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/appguide/. The examining attorney should enter the entity and citizenship into the Trademark database, or send a request to the LIE to have it entered. A separate statement that applicant is an individual will not appear in TICRS, and the "Legal Nature" and "Legal Nature: Place Incorporated" fields will state "Not Provided." No inquiry as to the applicant’s entity or citizenship is necessary. The absence of the "Nationality of Applicant/Transferee/Holder" field means that the applicant is a juristic entity rather than an individual.
If the applicant is a juristic entity, the name, entity, and citizenship of the juristic entity is required. If provided in the §66(a) application, this information appears in the "Legal Nature" and "Legal Nature: Place Incorporated" fields. If these fields state "Not Provided," the examining attorney must require the applicant to indicate its entity and citizenship.
Regardless of whether the applicant is an individual or a juristic entity, the examining attorney cannot rely on the "Entitlement Nationality," "Entitlement Establishment," or "Entitlement Domiciled" fields for the applicant’s citizenship because these fields merely indicate the basis for the applicant’s entitlement to file an application through the Madrid system, not the national citizenship of the applicant.