USPTO Proposes Database of Official Insignia of Native American Tribes

January 23, 2001
Press Release #01-05

Kim Byars

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is proposing that the agency create and maintain a database of the official insignia of federally and state recognized Native American tribes. The database was recommended in the USPTO's November 30, 1999 report to Congress that was mandated under Title III of Public Law 105-330. Public Law 105-330 required the USPTO to study how the official insignia of Native American Tribes might be better protected under trademark law.

The purpose of the database is to establish, for informational purposes, a consolidated, searchable source of reference material that may be useful to both the USPTO and to the general public. Inclusion of official insignia in this database will ensure that USPTO's trademark examining attorneys, who are searching a mark that is confusingly similar to an official insignia, will find and consider the official insignia before making a determination of registrability.

The USPTO is seeking comments on its proposal. The proposal, including comment procedures, is available to be read/downloaded at:

USPTO, a user fee-funded agency of the United States, within the Department of Commerce, administers laws relevant to granting patents and registering trademarks. The Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office advises the Secretary of Commerce and other Federal departments and agencies on intellectual property policy matters. Over six million patents have been issued since the first patent in 1790 and 2.3 million trademarks have been registered since the first in 1870. Last year USPTO issued 182,223 patents and registered 127,794 trademarks.