Avoiding trademark rejections: the basics explained


The symbolic entity of a trademark is not merely restricted to a graphical image, icon or label which is synonymous to your company’s name; rather, it holds a lot of significance to it. It serves a twofold purpose of securing a copyright for the goods and services of your enterprise and establishing a brand value of your firm reflecting the ideology which it adheres to and the values it wishes to offer to its customers.

Trademark registration: the whole concept unveiled

There are 3 aspects to any trademark, two of which have been explained above in the introduction. The third and the most vital aspect of trademark makes the whole issue of trademark registration a complex one. The trademark or a mark carries a legal aspect to it which is linked to its registration. A properly registered trademark is liable for legal compensation if an unauthorized use of the registered trademarks is observed by other parties.

Steps to ensure before filing for registration

• Prior to filing of an application seeking approval for the trademark it is advised to do a thorough trademark search.

• This search should be conducted through both online as well as offline mode.

• One can also take help from an attorney adept in trademark laws before making any decisions regarding trademarks.

• The supervision and registration of trademarks in India is monitored by Comptroller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks (Ministry of Commerce and Industry).

• The registrations of trademarks are made under the Trademark Act, 1999 which is framed keeping in mind the regulation stipulated by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).

• Make sure you select the exact class of trademark which accurately represents the goods or services of your business. This categorization is done on the basis of <a href=”https://www.uspto.gov/patents-application-process/patent-search/classification-standards-and-development”>classification guidelines framed by USPTO </a> (United States Patent and Trademark Office).

• Mindful search and approval is also required for the following if you intent to use them as trademarks: internet domain names, blogs and trade dress.

Factors contributing towards rejection of trademarks

By now it seems very clear that a trademark bears the responsibility of establishing a brand for your company. A trademark not only adds to the brand value of the enterprise but also mirrors the core ethics and values encircling your product or service.

Doesn’t it seem naturally instinctive to ensure proper protection and legalization of such a mark which bores so much of significance? Therefore it is expected of you to choose and select a trademark which stands approved strictly according to the trademark laws that too without any loop holes. Also the trademarks need to be valid enough to be able to pass under the scanner of the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).

A trademark attorney can be of great help whose expert guidance will help you sail through every scrutiny under the above mentioned approval measures. Hence a properly registered trademarks paves way for unfettered use of trademarks thus enhancing your business prospects without any legal apprehension.

Let us go through the factors which make your trademark registration liable for rejection

Avoiding terms carrying a broader sense to it

There are certain terms carrying generic connotations to it and find their use in common things. Therefore such terms must be avoided to be included in your trademark thus saving you a potential reason behind rejection. If you name your trademark using such terms, it makes your trademark vulnerable and prone to rejection by the USPTO. An example will make you clear of what is not expected from a trademark, suppose you wish to name a detergent product with a tagline of fresh and clean as a trademark. Such a trademark with common names and words will not be accepted.

Terms vivid in nature

Descriptive terms which over explain the product or service are not fit for approval as trademarks. Such terms are used with intent of superficially describing the product/ service giving it a surreal existence. These words are used as adjectives and hence indicative of unethical promotional agenda behind it. For example words such as wow, superb, amazing etc cannot find their way for approval as trademarks.

Terms creating illusions and misleading the consumers

There are certain terms which carry no authenticity and hence are deceptive in nature. Such terms play with the psychology of the consumers leaving them betrayed and cheated on false portrayal of products or services. For example a company dealing in dry fruits tries selling their stock of ordinary almonds as Gurbandi almonds are liable for rejection on grounds of deceit.

Terms inflicting insult or offense

Terms which can hurt or cause offense to any section of the society stands strictly unfit for validation as a trademark. Any trademark failing ethically and morally to find its use as trademark cannot stand for approval. Any term which is vulgar, derogatory or insulting in any way will surely be liable for rejection by the trademark authorities.

Terms pertaining to administrative sector

There is a strict no for use of official terms in the trademarks making it suitable for immediate rejection. No trademark should bear any kind of resemblance to symbols, logos or labels bearing official names or meanings such as flags, emblems etc.

Trademark strikingly similar to some other

If you accidentally happen to make a selection that appears similar to a trademark name already registered then that would also invite rejection of application. UPTSO follows a very rigid approach when it comes to comparing of trademark names with previously registered names. Not only does it take into consideration the name of the mark but also checks for the products or the services associated with the mark. Incase similarity of goods or services is found it simply rejects the application.

Stating the true owner without any ambiguity

A trademark is owned by either an individual or an entity therefore it is necessary to precisely state in the application as to who owns the trademark. Often it is observed that trademark ownership is either shown in the name of the enterprise or in the name of the individual heading the business firm. Therefore it is advisable to ensure whether the company stated is registered and stands firm on legal grounds. This measure aids in strengthening your legal claims in near future.

Avoid overlooking of official notices

It is not uncommon during the registration process for your application to revert back on grounds of minor faults and procedural issues. The returned application is accompanied with an official notice giving a detailed explanation as to what led to the delay in the process.

Therefore it is recommended that such notices should be dealt with prompt action and a suitable reply should be filed with the trademark office.

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