Obtaining a trademark is a complex process that doesn’t always turn out as planned. There are many times that a trademark application might be refused. Luckily, working with an experienced Arizona trademark attorney will help you understand why your application was rejected and how to overcome it.

What is a Trademark?

Defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, design, or combination that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods from one business over others.

The 3 Most Common Grounds for Trademark Refusal

There are several different reasons that your trademark application could be refused, but there are a few reasons that are more common than others.

Confusing with Existing Trademark

The most common reason for a trademark application rejection is the likelihood of confusion compared to a trademark that is already registered. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is responsible for reviewing all trademark applications and compares them to any existing trademarks that are already registered. If the examiner finds that your trademark could be confused with a trademark that is already registered, it will be refused. This includes your trademark sounding the same, being similar in appearance, or too similar to the meaning. You are only at risk for refusal if your trademark is substantially similar to an existing trademark and falls in the same category of goods and services. Your trademark application will also be compared to pending applications. During most cases, your application will not be denied if similar to a pending application, but you will be made aware of the situation by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Trademark is Not Descriptive Enough

Every trademark needs to come with a complete description and application. If your trademark application is incomplete or merely descriptive of your trademark’s ingredients, feature or function, you could face a trademark application refusal. It is best to always fully complete your application and always be as descriptive as possible, especially when it comes to the characteristics and other important aspects of your trademark.

Trademark’s Description is Misleading

Another reason for refusal of a trademark application is due to a misleading description. This includes incorrectly describing ingredients, features, functions, characteristics or other aspects of the good or services you are trying to trademark. If what the consumer perceives is not accurate, then your trademark will most likely be rejected. A trademark description should never be manipulated into something it is not.

Your Options After Trademark Application Refusal

After your trademark application has been refused, meet with an experienced trademark registration attorney to know your options. You can either provide a secondary meaning to your trademark, making it distinct from others to consumers, or you can go through an appeal process. Either way, you will want a trademark attorney on your side to walk you through it and offer their advice.

Parsons & Goltry Law Firm

With over 50 years of experience, the intellectual property attorneys at Parsons & Goltry are your go-to legal team for all things trademarks. The legal team has helped a significant number of trademark applications receive approval. From starting with the trademark process to aggressive trademark appeals, a trademark attorney in Phoenix is always on your side, protecting your inventions.