Although you can use a trademark without registering it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you will lose significant advantages. Examples include:
- Registration may deter others from using identical or similar marks
- Registration proves your ownership of the mark
- Registration gives you legal grounds to sue for infringement
The USPTO relies on stringent guidelines when approving the registration of trademarks. As such, it rejects or denies many applications. Knowing why a denial may occur can help you succeed in your efforts to register your trademark.
Top reasons for trademark rejections
Even though many trademark registration attempts fail on the first try, it is not because the USPTO is being difficult. There is usually a good cause for the rejection. Three of the most common reasons for trademark registration denials include the following.
- Likelihood of confusion. When a mark bears too close a resemblance to an already registered trademark (appearance, sound, etc.), it may confuse consumers, resulting in rejection.
- Ornamentation. When a trademark serves as an ornament or decoration rather than a means of distinguishing goods or services from others, the USPTO may issue a denial.
- Deceptively misdescriptive and merely descriptive. Most trademark applications that merely describe an aspect of goods or services result in rejection. At the same time, if the mark deceptively misdescribes a product, company or service, it will probably be rejected.
New York-based companies and entrepreneurs rely on trademarks to strengthen their business brands and protect their intellectual property. If you want to ensure that your efforts at registration succeed, consider learning more about trademark law in New York. Professional guidance when seeking to register your mark can also help.