Combining Technical Knowledge And Legal Action Since 2002

  1. Home
  2.  — 
  3. Trademarks
  4.  — Trademark basics: Reasons your trademark may be refused

Trademark basics: Reasons your trademark may be refused

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2022 | Trademarks |

Businesses use trademarks to make their products and services stand out. Through a trademark, a business is able to build commercial value, reputation and goodwill in the eyes of its customers. But, before a trademark becomes your business’ exclusive property, you must register it.

However, there are certain instances when your application for trademark registration may be refused. And if your application is refused, you might want to know why so you can make appropriate corrections before making another attempt at registering your trademark.

Here are three questions you need to ask if your trademark has been refused.

Is your proposed trademark likely to cause confusion?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will reject your trademark application if it believes the general public is likely to confuse it for an already existing one. For instance, if you try to register a trademark under the name “Stanbucks” or “MaDonalds,” it is likely this will confuse the public even if your logo and color schemes are different.

Is your proposed trademark disparaging, scandalous or immoral?

The Lanham Act allows USPTO to refuse or cancel a trademark that is scandalous, disparaging or immoral. For instance, the USPTO may have a problem accepting “FCUK” as your trademark.

Is your proposed trademark a surname?

The USPTO will refuse your trademark if its “primary significance” to the public is nothing more than a surname. In other words, if the public is only associating your last name with your proposed trademark rather than your product or service, then your quest for registration will be refused.

A trademark helps consumers easily identify with your products and services. However, to ensure that a trademark is not used to mislead consumers or misrepresent a brand, it is protected by law.