As stated in section 1206 Refusal on Basis of Name, Portrait or Signature of Particular Living Individual or Deceased U.S. President Without Consent of Examination Procedure:
Extract from 15 U.S.C. §1052. No trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it ... (c) Consists of or comprises a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual except by his written consent, or the name, signature, or portrait of a deceased President of the United States during the life of his widow, if any, except by the written consent of the widow.
Section 2(c) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(c), bars the registration of a mark that consists of or comprises (whether consisting solely of, or having incorporated in the mark) a name, portrait or signature that identifies a particular living individual, or a deceased United States president during the life of his widow, except by the written consent of the individual or the president's widow.
Section 2(c) absolutely bars the registration of these marks on either the Principal Register or the Supplemental Register.
The purpose of requiring the consent of a living individual to the registration of his or her name, signature or portrait is to protect rights of privacy and publicity that living persons have in the designations that identify them. University of Notre Dame du Lac v. J.C. Gourmet Food Imports Co., Inc., 703 F.2d 1372, 1376, 217 USPQ 505, 509 (Fed. Cir. 1983), aff'g 213 USPQ 594 (TTAB 1982); Canovas v. Venezia 80 S.R.L., 220 USPQ 660, 661 (TTAB 1983). See TMEP §1203.03 for a discussion of the right to control the use of one's identity, which underlies part of §2(a) as well as §2(c).
See TMEP §813 regarding when it is necessary for an examining attorney to inquire of the applicant as to whether a name, signature or portrait in a mark identifies a particular living individual, and regarding the entry of pertinent statements in the record for printing in the Official Gazette and on a registration certificate.
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