What is a disclaimer?

A disclaimer is a statement issued by a trademark applicant that “no claim is made to the exclusive right to use (unregistrable component), apart from the mark as shown.” A disclaimer does not physically remove the disclaimed matter from the mark; instead, the disclaimer allows the applicant to register the mark as a whole with individual elements disclaimed. For example, if a trademark consists of the word mark "xyz toy store" with "toy store" disclaimed, the applicant has a protectable trademark in "xyz" and "xyz toy store" but they cannot prevent competitors from using "toy store."  Words or symbols that lack secondary meaning will often require a disclaimer but the mark cannot be dominated by unregistrable material.

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