Why would the USPTO deny a trademark?

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Operating a business successfully today requires a different approach than it did in past eras. While business intellectual property has existed for a long time, it encompasses much more these days than trademarks or copyrighted works.

Branding has become a kind of umbrella term for many types of intellectual property that define and add value to businesses. Most entrepreneurs spend substantial time designing their brand materials. When the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) refuses to register your marks, you want to know why.

Similarity between trademarks

To understand why the USPTO might refuse a trademark registration, you need to understand the purpose of a trademark. It is a word, symbol, device or name (or any combination) that distinguishes a business from competitors.

If a business in your industry has already registered a mark like yours, the USPTO may deny your registration. It denies the registration of overly similar materials because approving “like” trademarks could confuse consumers and harm businesses.

When are trademarks too similar?

Essentially, a trademark cannot closely resemble or sound like an already registered mark. However, those are not the only two similarity factors the USPTO uses to approve or deny trademarks. When a registered mark and an unregistered one evoke a similar commercial impression on consumers, the USPTO may issue a denial.

Get more information

There are other reasons why the USPTO might refuse to register a trademark. Learning more about business intellectual property law before submitting your marks to the USPTO can help you avoid a denial. Improving your knowledge can also ensure all your intellectual property remains protected from infringement.