The hardest part of registering a trademark is usually coming up with a unique trademark in the first place. A trademark is a word or symbol that should distinguish your company, product, or service from all others. Once you have chosen a name to represent your brand, the next step is to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The office will determine if your trademark is truly unique, and can at that point register the mark.
Why might a trademark be refused?
There are specific reasons why the USPTO may refuse to grant a trademark registration: Someone else may have the same trademark; It may be too easily confused with another product, service, or company offering similar goods or services; It may be so descriptive that it doesn’t distinguish your company, product, or service at all.
If the application is rejected, the USPTO will notify you that your trademark has been denied. You can either accept the rejection, or you can respond. If you respond, you will need to submit evidence and arguments persuading the examining attorney that the initial analysis was incorrect. The USPTO will then review your evidence and arguments and make a final determination granting you your trademark if it accepts your arguments and evidence. However, if they are not convinced, you will receive a final office action.
What’s a “final refusal”?
A final refusal is a formal refusal from the trademark office restating the rejections cited in the first office action. Again, you can choose to accept this refusal, or you can appeal to the administrative board of the trademark office.
How do I appeal a final refusal?
You would appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”). This administrative board hears trials and appeals regarding trademarks.
To appeal, you’ll first need to submit a notice of appeal and pay the filing fee within six months of the final refusal. Then, you will file an appeal brief. These written documents can be complex and require adherence to many rules, so you must make sure you follow all of the rules so that your brief isn’t rejected. Then, the attorney who examined your trademark application will submit his or her own brief. You have the option of responding. The TTAB will then make a decision based on the evidence submitted by both sides. If your appeal is granted, your trademark application will go through the rest of the application process, but if it’s denied, it will be refused.
Can I hire a lawyer to represent me in a final refusal appeal?
It’s advisable to have a trademark attorney handle your appeal. A trademark attorney knows the law, the procedures, and how to write an effective appeal to give you the best shot at appealing a final decision. If we can help you move forward with a trademark appeal, simply contact our New York and South Carolina trademark attorneys at 888-666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
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.
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