|Native American Insignias
||Referenced Items (438, 439)
(439) DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
United States Patent and Trademark Office
Establishment of a Database
Containing the Official Insignia of
Federally Recognized Native American Tribes
AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.
ACTION: Notice and request for comments.
SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is
proposing to create and maintain a database of the official insignia of
federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. The USPTO seeks
comments on its proposed method for creating and maintaining this
DATES: Comment Deadline Date: To ensure consideration, written
comments must be received on or before February 8, 2001. No public
hearing will be held.
ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent by electronic mail message
over the Internet addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may
also be submitted by mail addressed to: Box CommentsMTrademarks,
Commissioner for Trademarks, Washington, DC 20231; or by facsimile to (703)
308-9285, marked to the attention of Ari Leifman.
The comments will be available for public inspection at the Office of
the Commissioner for Trademarks, 2900 Crystal Drive, Room 10B10,
Arlington, Virginia, 22202 and will be posted at the USPTO's web site
(address: http://www.uspto.gov). All comments will be
available for public inspection.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ari Leifman by telephone at
(703) 308-8900, or by mail addressed to: Box Comment Trademarks,
Commissioner for Trademarks, Washington, DC 20231, or by facsimile to
(703) 872-9285, marked to the attention of Ari Leifman.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Trademark Law Treaty Implementation
Act, Pub. L. 105-330, Sec. 302, 112 Stat. 3071 (1998) required the
USPTO to study issues surrounding the protection of the official
insignia of federally and state-recognized Native American tribes. The
study was conducted, and a report was presented to the Chairman of the
Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and to the Chairman of the
Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on November
One of the recommendations in the report was that the USPTO create and
maintain an accurate and comprehensive database of the official insignia of
Native American tribes.
The USPTO proposes to create such a database and seeks comments on the
proposed method. If the comments received include a suggestion for a
better method for creating and maintaining the database, the USPTO will
publish a proposal describing this method and requesting further comments.
Otherwise, the USPTO will publish an announcement that finalizes the
procedures described in the present notice.
All requests to enter an official insignia of a Native American tribe
into the USPTO database must be in writing, addressed to the Commissioner
for Trademarks, and must include the following:
(1) A depiction of the insignia. If the insignia consists of a word,
this word should be typed in upper-case letters. If the insignia consists
of a design, or a combination of a word or words and a design, the
depiction of the insignia should not be larger than 4 inches by 4 inches
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(10.3 cm. by 10.3 cm.). The depiction of the insignia should be placed at
or near the center of a sheet of white paper 8 to 8 1/2 inches (20.3 to
21.6 cm.) wide and 11 inches (27.9 cm.) long. The paper should have a
heading that includes the name of the tribe and the address for
(2) A copy of the tribal resolution adopting the insignia in question
as the official insignia of the tribe;
(3) A statement, signed by an official with authority to bind the
tribe, confirming that the insignia included with the request is identical
to the official insignia adopted by tribal resolution; and
(4) For all entities not recognized as Native American tribes by the
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), either (a) a document issued by a state
official that evidences the state's determination that the entity is a
Native American tribe, or (b) a citation to a state statute that
designates the entity as a Native American tribe.
The request should be sent by facsimile to (703) 872-9192, or mailed to
a United States Postal Service mailbox that the Office will identify at
a later date.
The USPTO will record any official insignia of a Native American tribe
submitted in the above manner, if the Commissioner determines that the
entity that submitted the request is a Native American tribe recognized
by the Federal Government or by one or more state governments.
The Commissioner will determine whether or not the entity that
submitted the request is a federally recognized Native American tribe
by consulting the list of Native American tribes maintained by the BIA.
If an entity that seeks recordal of its insignia wishes to demonstrate
that it is a state-recognized Native American tribe rather than a federally
recognized Native American tribe, that entity must provide the Commissioner
with either (1) a document issued by a state official that evidences the
state's determination that the entity is a Native American tribe, or (2) a
citation to a state statute that designates the entity as a Native American
Legal Significance of Recordal
The recordal of an official insignia of a Native American tribe
at the USPTO will not be the equivalent of registering that insignia as
a trademark pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq. Thus, including an
insignia in the USPTO's database would not create any legal
presumption of validity or priority, and none of the benefits of
trademark registration will accrue to a Native American tribe whose
insignia may be recorded pursuant to this notice.
Acceptance of the insignia for recordal will not be a determination as
to whether a particular insignia for which recordal has been requested
would be refused registration as a trademark pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1051
et seq., or to some provision of Chapter 37 of the Code of Federal
Regulations, or to any requirement of the USPTO.
The USPTO will use the official insignia recorded by the USPTO as
information useful in the examination of certain applications for
registration of trademarks and as evidence of what a federally or
state-recognized tribe considers to be its official insignia.
The database of official insignia of Native American tribes will be
included, for informational purposes, within the USPTO's database of
material that is not registered but is searched to make determinations
regarding the registrability of marks. This database is available at
the USPTO's web site. Inclusion of official insignia in this database
will ensure that an examining attorney, who is searching a mark that is
confusingly similar to an official insignia will find and consider the
official insignia before making a determination of registrability.
For correspondence pertaining to the database of official insignia of
Native American tribes, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual
Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office has
waived the requirement of 37 CFR 1.1 that all correspondence intended for
the United States Patent and Trademark Office be mailed to one of the
addresses identified in 37 CFR 1.1.
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The Office has determined that the proposed establishment of the
database has no federalism implications affecting the relationship
between the National Government and the State as outlined in Executive
Order 12612. The proposed database conforms with Executive Order 12612.
December 21, 2000 Q. TODD DICKINSON
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual
Property and Director of the United States
Patent and Trademark Office
[1243 TMOG 12]