After being caught up in the college admissions scandal earlier this year, Olivia Jade Giannulli found herself making news for an unrelated blunder: her beauty trademarks were temporarily denied due to poor punctuation. Admittedly, the daughter of actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli did not file the trademark application on her own, but the error turned out to be quite an embarrassment for the beauty blogger and fashion influencer nonetheless.
So, what really happened? Was Oliva Jade’s application rejected over a simple typo? Does poor grammar or punctuation really matter when applying for trademark protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office?
It turns out the real reason Giannulli’s trademarks were temporarily denied go to the heart of how nuanced trademark applications can be, and why it’s so important to file your application with the help of a qualified attorney because simple errors can cause huge time delays, extra filing costs, and legal fees.
In her initial trademark application, the USPTO took issue with how Giannulli used categories that were “too broad” when describing the products that would be a part of her makeup kits, which were listed simply as “moisturizer,” “concealer,” and so forth.
Likewise, the USPTO cited punctuation errors in the way that the components of the kit were listed out as a group. Apparently, it was difficult to tell exactly which beauty products listed amongst her goods and services offered actually went with the kit because of the way the punctuation was used when grouping out the list (e.g. make-up kit consisting of: x, y and z; vs. what she had on the application which looked more like make up kit, x, y, z).
Giannulli received two warnings from the USPTO to correct these mistakes or otherwise she risked having her applications dropped all together. To be in compliance, her lawyers helped her narrow her product categories by changing words like “moisturizer” to “non-medicated skin care creams” and “skin moisturizer.” The phrase “make up kit” was correctly punctuated to be “Make-up kit” and proper use of commas and semi-colons were inserted to show exactly what items the beauty kit comprised of. Fortunately, her team helped her to fix the specific elements that the USPTO had taken issue with, and some of her revised applications have already been approved.
Key Takeaway: Minor Mistakes May Jeopardize Your Trademark Applications
The lesson to be learned from this case is that simple mistakes like typos and punctuations can derail your trademark application, ultimately costing you time and unnecessary legal fees. That’s why it’s so important to work with a qualified attorney from the start who understands the nuances and care that must be taken when applying for your trademark so that you are securing your marks in the most cost-effective and fastest way possible.
If you are thinking about applying for a trademark and you were considering going it alone or using an online DIY service, we invite you to at least have a conversation with our attorneys about what it would look like to work through the process with a qualified attorney by your side. Our initial needs assessment call costs nothing and we’d be happy to give you our honest opinions on how to best protect your business and/or brand. To schedule a meeting with our trademark attorneys, simply call 888-666-0062.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.