What is trademark abandonment?

What does it mean to abandon a trademark? One fundamental difference between trademarks and patents is that trademarks require ongoing and continuous usage in order to maintain exclusive rights. A renewal of a trademark registration, therefore, requires the owner to declare that the trademark has been and continues to be used on the goods and/or […]

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What is a Multi-class Trademark Application?

Can multi-class trademark applications be filed in the US? Yes, the USPTO allows applicants to file a single trademark application covering goods and/or services spanning multiple classes. The USPTO still charges a separate filing fee for each class. Why file a multi-class application? In certain cases, it might be more efficient to file a single […]

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What is trademark fair use?

When is it OK to refer to someone else’s trademark? Trademark law allows for third parties to refer to the trademarks of others in certain situations. Known as fair use, the overall guiding principle is that unauthorized usage of a trademark owned by someone else may be permissible if done in a way that would […]

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Who owns a trademark?

Who is the trademark applicant (trademark owner)? It’s not uncommon for first-time trademark applicants to raise questions concerning ownership of the trademark. In a trademark application, should the applicant be identified as an individual or a company? The answer depends upon who will ultimately control the quality of the goods or services. In most cases, […]

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What is likelihood of confusion?

What is the purpose of a trademark? A trademark serves to indicate the source of goods or services (in this post, I’ll refer to both goods and services collectively as “products” for simplicity). A trademark may comprise words and/or logos used in connection with the sale of goods or services. In rare cases, a trademark may […]

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When does a trademark registration expire?

Why don’t trademarks expire? Trademarks differ from patents in at least one critical way: trademarks can last indefinitely while patents must expire. Keep in mind that patents involve an exchange of information (from inventors) for exclusivity (from government). Trademarks do not involve such an exchange. Instead, trademarks serve to indicate the source of a product […]

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How long is the US trademark application process?

Trademark applicants typically want to know how much time it takes to register a trademark. The length of the trademark application process depends upon three key factors, each of which is controlled by a different party: Filing basis (up to you) Rejections / Office Actions (up to the trademark examining attorney) Oppositions (up to third parties) […]

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What is a geographically descriptive trademark?

What is a primarily geographically descriptive trademark? Not all marks that contain a geographical location will be refused registration. The issue is whether the mark is primarily geographically descriptive. To meet that “primarily” requirement, the mark must have the following [see TMEP § 1210.01]: the primary significance of the mark is a generally known geographic […]

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How to renew a trademark registration

Trademark Renewal Deadlines Unlike patents which have a definite expiration, the term of a trademark registration may continue indefinitely as long as the owner continues to use the mark on the goods or services identified in the registration. In the IP world, “renewal” specifically refers to a second post-registration filing that occurs around the 10-year […]

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What can’t be trademarked?

Indicator of Source Not all words can be trademarked. In order for a term to function as a mark and thus qualify for registration, a mark must serve as an indicator of the source of origin of the relevant goods or services. If certain words or phrases fail to distinguish the source of goods/services from […]

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