How to satisfy a disclaimer requirement

What is a disclaimer?

It’s a written statement that indicates you don’t have exclusive rights to particular wording or a design in your trademark. When a disclaimer is required, it does not physically remove any wording or design elements from your trademark or affect your trademark’s appearance or the way you use it. 

A disclaimer only relates to part of your trademark. You will still retain exclusive rights to your trademark when you use it as a whole, but not to the disclaimed wording or design when it is used separately from your trademark. See the examples below for more information.

A disclaimer is only required to be included with or added to your trademark application in certain circumstances. 

Why am I being required to submit a disclaimer?

We will require a disclaimer when your trademark includes a certain type of wording or design that would otherwise be unregistrable, such as wording or a design that doesn’t indicate the source of your goods or services or is otherwise merely descriptive of them. 

For example, some wording or designs in trademarks merely describe or provide information about the goods or services sold under the trademark, the trademark owner, or the business itself. However, this type of wording or design is needed by others to legitimately describe and market their own goods or services. It doesn’t identify the source of the goods. Thus, such wording or designs cannot be owned by any one party. In this case, we require a disclaimer statement to make clear to others they may legitimately use the disclaimed wording or designs without triggering legal objections.

Types of wording and designs in a trademark that would require a disclaimer 


Generic wording and designs are the common name for, or a depiction of, your goods or services. 

Examples: ASPIRIN in the trademark PETE’S ASPIRIN for pain relief medication; a realistic depiction of strawberries for fruits, as shown below.

Inside a square is a gold circle has an image of three strawberries in the center with the words “ORGANIC BIOLOGIQUE” curving around the sides. The circle is above the words “WELL.PICT” in white letters instead a long red oval. The word “BERRIES” in white text is below. The words and gold circle are slanted at a diagonal.


Merely descriptive 

Merely descriptive wording and designs merely describe a feature, ingredient, characteristic, purpose, function, intended audience, or quality of your goods or services. 

Examples: CREAMY in the trademark FAB CREAMY for yogurt; a realistic image of a cue stick and billiard ball for billiard parlor services, as shown below.  

The word “Bailey’s” superimposed in front of a black poll ball with the number 7 on it. Underneath “Bailey’s” is a pool stick slanted at an angle with the words “Sport Grille” underneath.



Laudatory wording merely describes an alleged superior quality of your goods or services. 

Examples: THE BEST BEER IN AMERICA in the trademark CRANE’S THE BEST BEER IN AMERICA for beer; PERFECT PIZZA for restaurant services, as shown below.

A gray-colored pizza slice hovers in the top third of a black circle. Under this are the words “Perfect Pizza” in cursive font with white letters and “ALWAYS READY” in gray.


Varietal or cultivar 

Varietal or cultivar names are given to cultivated varieties or subspecies of live plants or agricultural seeds. This name is essentially the generic name of the plant or seed. 

Examples: REBEL in the trademark REBEL LIFE for grass seed; TEXAS CENTENNIAL in the trademark HAVER TEXAS CENTENNIAL for roses; ALFALFA SEED for alfalfa seed, as shown below.

The words “Alfalfa Seed” appear in black letters in front of a blue background. The words “Origin California” float in a white sky with a drawing of two cows grazing in grass.



Geographic wording and designs describe the geographic origin of your goods or services or the location where your services are provided or where purchasers are likely to believe they’re provided. 

Examples: VENICE in the trademark SPARKLE VENICE for glassware from Venice, Italy; a realistic map of Hawaii for restaurant services in Hawaii, as shown below; and a realistic map of Texas for real estate services provided in Texas, as shown below.

A simplified outline of the Hawaiian islands appears in black above the word “Mo’” in red letters and “Bettahs” in yellow. To the lower right of “Bettahs” is the phrase “HAWAIIAN STYLE FOOD” in white letters.
The state of Texas in white against a black background. The words “RANCH” appear in the upper-right corner and “MARKET” in the bottom-left.


Business type

Business type designations or abbreviations indicate the type or structure of your business. 

Examples: CORPORATION in the trademark ABC CORPORATION and BROS. in the trademark STANLEY & BROS.


Informational wording merely provides information about your goods, services, or business such as net weight or volume statements, lists of contents or ingredients, business addresses and contact information, and the year the business was established.

Examples: EST. 2021 and NET WEIGHT 50g, as shown below.

A hexagon with the word “SPRITZ” in the center in large font. The word “Society” appears in cursive beneath and at the top of the hexagon is a martini glass in between the text “EST.” and “2021.”
A hand grasping an apple with the words “NUTRIGRAB” on it. In the center is a circular clock with a drawing of a girl drinking juice and the words “eat A minute” at the bottom. The red minute and second hands form the letter “A.” The text “Eat a healthy meal in a minute” appears in cursive along the left edge of the clock.


Widely used messages

Widely used messages convey ordinary, familiar, or generally understood concepts or sentiments.


A white cross with the words “GOD BLESS AMERICA” in front of a blue background. Three red stripes curve out at the bottom, giving the appearance of book pages.


Social, political, religious messages 

Social, political, religious messages or similar messages in common use.

Example: GO GREEN, as shown below.

The words “Niagara Ecovillage” appear in large, black text to the right of a solid black vertical line. To the right of this line is a circle with a drawing of a waterfall inside. At the bottom of the image are the words “Go green!”


Religious text or citation 

Religious text or citation can be from religious texts such as the Bible, Quran, Torah, or Diamond Sutra.

Examples: PSALM 23, as shown below. 

The words “PSALM 23” in black text above a small “THE” and the word “SHEPHERD” in large gray font. Two black curves appear in the top right and bottom left corners.


Well-known symbols 

Well-known symbols provide information about your goods or services.


Biohazard symbol  biohazard symbol indicates goods or services are hazardous

A black biohazard sign with the words “OnCall” in red letters, followed by the blurry blue letters “Bio.” The words “Biohazard cleanup” appear in small cursive font in the lower right hand corner.


Prescription Symbol  prescription symbol for medical goods or services

The left-justified words “EasyFillRx” appear above the right-justified word “NETWORK.”


Dollar sign  dollar symbol for financial goods or services

A drawing of a plate with a dollar sign in the center flanked by a black knife on the right and a black fork on the left. Under the plate are the words “Panera” with leaf designs to the left and right of this word. The word “FUNDRAISING” is at the bottom edge of the image.


Recycling symbol  recycling symbol indicates support for recycling or environmental causes

The words “StyroAmerica” appear in large black text to the left of a recycle sign with the number “6” in the middle of the arrows. The words “Mobile Foam Recycling” appear in smaller black text under “StyroAmerica.”


red circle with a line across to represent "no"

universal prohibition symbol indicates something is prohibited or banned

The words “Rain Out” in blue text with a red no symbol superimposed on top.


Deceptively misdescriptive 

Deceptively misdescriptive wording and designs describe your goods or services in a way that is both false and believable but will not materially affect a consumer's decision to purchase the goods or services. 

Example: TIGER CLEAR for footwear that is not transparent. The fact that the clothing items are not transparent would not necessarily be material to a consumer's decision to purchase the clothing. 

For more information about why disclaimers are required and the types of wording and designs that are not registrable, see TMEP sections 12131213.03.

What does a disclaimer statement look like? 

A disclaimer states that you don’t claim exclusive rights to a particular term or design in your trademark. Our preferred format for this statement is to use quotation marks around the wording from the mark being disclaimed, or to specify a description of the design being disclaimed.

Example statement for wording 

You file an application for the trademark CHUCK’S SHIRTS for shirts. In an official letter, we then require you to submit a disclaimer of the word SHIRTS because that wording is the generic name for the goods you’re selling. You can disclaim “SHIRTS” as follows:

No claim is made to the exclusive right to use "SHIRTS" apart from the mark as shown.

Example statement for wording and design 

If you file an application for a trademark with the wording CHUCK’S SHIRTS and a realistic depiction of a shirt, we would then also require you to submit a disclaimer of the shirt design for the same reason. You can disclaim the term “SHIRTS” and the shirt design as follows:

No claim is made to the exclusive right to use “SHIRTS” and the design of a shirt apart from the mark as shown.

Example statement for disclaimer limited to specific international class 

If we request that you limit the disclaimer to particular goods or services, or to a particular international class of goods or services, you can include that information at the end of the disclaimer statement. If you file an application for the trademark CHUCK’S SHIRTS for goods in multiple classes, and we require the disclaimer of “SHIRTS” be limited to goods in International Class 25, you can disclaim the term “SHIRTS” as follows:

No claim is made to the exclusive right to use "SHIRTS" in International Class 25 apart from the mark as shown.

When do I submit a disclaimer statement? 

You can provide a disclaimer in the application when you file it or after the application is filed. However, if you don’t provide a required disclaimer, the USPTO can refuse to register your entire mark.

If you provide a disclaimer in the mistaken belief that we would require one when, in fact, we would not, then you can usually withdraw the disclaimer. See TMEP section 1213.01(c) for more information about withdrawing a voluntary disclaimer.

How do I disclaim misspelled, compound, foreign, or unitary wording

Misspelled wording 

The disclaimer statement must include the correct spelling of any misspelled wording. This includes terms that are phonetic equivalents of particular words or terms that share letters or are "telescoped.”


  • For the trademark SUPERINSE, where the words "super" and "rinse" are combined into one term and share the letter “r,” we would require a disclaimer of the correct spelling of the two words “SUPER RINSE” with a space between them. 
  • For the trademark JAY'S QUIK PRINT, where QUIK is misspelled, we would require a disclaimer of the correct spelling “QUICK PRINT.” 

Compressed compound wording 

The disclaimer statement must include the separate words that make up the compressed wording. This results when two or more words are compressed into one word that retains the correct spelling of the component words. If the entire combination is descriptive, generic, geographic, or otherwise unregistrable, it must be disclaimed. 

Example:  For the trademark KATE'S COOLPACK for insulated containers, we would require a disclaimer of the two words “COOL PACK” with a space between them, as this wording is merely descriptive for such goods. 

Foreign wording 

The disclaimer statement must include the non-English wording, not the English translation of it.

Example:  For the trademark GALA ROUGE for wine, we would require a disclaimer of the French word ROUGE because it means "red" and is merely descriptive of red wine. 

Foreign wording in non-Latin characters 

The disclaimer statement must include the non-Latin characters and their transliteration into English using Latin characters. For example, this wording could be Japanese, Cyrillic, Chinese, or Hebrew characters.

Example:  The trademark in Chinese characters below includes the Chinese character for “alcohol,” along with other characters that have no meaning in English. As the trademark is for spirits and liquors, the applicant in this case would disclaim the non-Latin character that transliterates to “jiu” and means “alcohol” in English, as this wording is merely descriptive, if not generic, for such goods.

Three Chinese characters in thick black font arranged in a horizontal line.

Unitary wording 

This is wording that is so integrated or merged together that it’s read as a single unit. Parts of a trademark can be unitary, too. 

Example:  The trademark WICK’S PIZZA PARLOR for a pizza restaurant includes the unitary wording PIZZA PARLOR, which must be disclaimed together as a unit rather than as the separate words PIZZA and PARLOR.

For more information about how to disclaim misspelled, compound, foreign, or unitary wording and matter, see TMEP sections 1213.05(b)(iv)1213.08(c)-(d).

How do I submit a disclaimer?

Respond to a disclaimer requirement in a nonfinal Office action by using the Response to Office Action form, which includes any required statement and supporting declaration language referenced in the Office action. To respond to a disclaimer requirement in a final Office action, use the Request for Reconsideration after Final Action form.

Online form instructions: 

1. Answer "Yes" to question #3 regarding adding or deleting a disclaimer. 

2. In the "Additional Statements" section of the form, type the wording or design description to be disclaimed in the text entry box for a disclaimer. The entry in this box should match precisely what was specified in the Office action. Do not include the standardized disclaimer format as this text is already included in the form. 

For technical assistance with the form, contact