What does house mark mean?
Normally, a trademark is tied to a particular product or service. You don’t register a trademark in a vacuum without specifying the goods or services under the mark. A house mark is an exception to this general rule in that it identifies the provider of a wide variety of goods or services. In most cases, the goods or services are identified by a separate trademark.
Why file a house mark application?
Building your trademark registration portfolio will generally strengthen your IP rights. With a house trademark registration, you would have further rights to argue that a competitor is using a mark that has the likelihood of causing consumer confusion.
A house trademark registration would also give USPTO examining attorneys the grounds to reject trademark applications for similar marks. Instead of having to file oppositions against trademark applications for confusingly similar marks, trademark examiners might end up doing it for you by rejecting those third party applications.
How do you identify the goods or services in a house trademark application?
In an application for registration of a house trademark, the goods or services can be identified by wording such as “a house mark for” a variety of goods or services. This gives the applicant flexiblity to identify a line of products or services.
An Intent-To-Use application may be filed, but circumstances must establish that the ITU applicant’s proposed use of the mark is credible.
What specimens should be filed in a house trademark application?
According to the TMEP, a house mark will be registered only when evidence shows sufficient use or mark as identifying the provider. A trademark examining attorney must review the specimens of use any other evidence to determine whether the mark is being used as a house mark or as a trademark for goods and services. Therefore, one way to show such evidence is to submit specimens that bear two marks: one for the product, and the other for the provider such as your company name.
In fact, the examples given by the USPTO suggest that a specimen should show two marks. One mark identifies the company name while the other identifies the product or service offered by the company.
Need to register your house mark?
Contact patent and trademark attorney Vic Lin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (949) 223-9623 to see how we can help protect your business name as a trademark.
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