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Trademarks in the U.S.
Does the United States use the "Nice Classification" system?

In the United States, while the Nice Classification System is employed for categorizing trademarks based on class numbers, the U.S. adopts its unique system for specifying goods and services within each class. This American approach requires a more detailed description of the items. Unlike the broader categories of the Nice Classification, the U.S. system necessitates breaking down general terms into specific items. For instance, a generic term like "clothing" must be specified into distinct categories such as "shirts, pants, skirts, etc." When conducting a Comprehensive Study in the U.S., our attorney will guide you in selecting the most appropriate and detailed description for your goods or services, ensuring it aligns with the requirements for trademark registration requests in the U.S.

What are application oppositions and objections?

Your business name is a valuable asset to both you and your company. Successfully registering your trademark is just the beginning; it's essential to actively defend it against legitimate competitors, counterfeiters, and unfair business practices that may infringe upon your property rights. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) publishes a biweekly list of newly approved trademark applications for public scrutiny. Remember, a trademark does not enforce itself. Part of owning a commercial mark involves vigilant protection.

Every two weeks, members of the public and business owners in your industry have the opportunity to file oppositions against approved trademarks. Utilizing professional services can be advantageous, as they possess the resources and expertise to monitor this ongoing influx of information and assist in safeguarding your mark in a dynamic business environment.

If another trademark owner believes your mark infringes upon their exclusive rights, they may oppose your application during this period by filing a claim with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. It's crucial to actively defend your brand and the trademark that represents your ownership.

Additionally, during the examination process for trademark registration, the Trademark Office evaluates your mark against existing trademarks. If your mark closely resembles others already in the market, your application may face rejection. This step ensures the uniqueness and distinctiveness of each registered trademark.

How do I defend a trademark opposition?

When your trademark application is reviewed and approved by a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examining attorney, it is then published in the Official Gazette, available online, for public viewing. This publication initiates a critical 30-day window during which any party can file an opposition to the registration of your mark.

As the applicant, you are allotted 30 days to respond to a Notice of Opposition. In responding to the claims of the opposer, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) will organize a legal proceeding akin to a mini-trial to adjudicate the dispute.

It is advisable to engage a professional trademark service or a trademark attorney. These professionals are equipped to develop a robust legal defense, accurately file necessary court documents, and respond effectively to any court motions. It is important to note that the TTAB adheres to strict legal protocols and deadlines for responses to a Notice of Opposition.

Failure to respond to a Notice of Opposition will result in the USPTO issuing a Notice of Default, leading the TTAB to likely rule in favor of the opposer. Such a ruling precludes you from future applications for the trademark in question. However, there is a possibility, albeit limited, to file a motion to overturn a default judgment.


How do I oppose a trademark application?

Once the examination period of a trademark application is completed, a US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examining attorney publishes the mark in the USPTO’s online Official Gazette. This action commences a 30-day period wherein the public can file oppositions against the trademark registration. If you have a personal or business interest and can demonstrate that the proposed trademark will adversely affect you or infringe upon your existing mark or property rights, you have the opportunity to halt the registration process. This opposition mechanism is crucial in ensuring that commercial marks are genuine, distinctive, and reduce consumer confusion in brand selection.

Opposition to a trademark application can be filed for various reasons, including:

  • The mark being generic and not distinctive.
  • The mark being descriptive in terms of physical appearance or geography rather than being unique.
  • The mark creating social concerns.
  • The mark being potentially misleading.
  • The mark potentially diluting the distinctiveness of another existing mark.

To oppose a trademark registration, you need to file a Notice of Opposition with the USPTO. This document should clearly state the reasons why the USPTO should not register the mark in question. Following this, the trademark applicant has 30 days to respond to the opposition. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) will then schedule a date for the proceedings. Given the legal intricacies of trademark opposition hearings, it is advisable to seek the expertise of a trademark attorney to file a Notice of Opposition and navigate the legal process effectively.

What is the web address of the trademark national office?

Visit the trademark national office at:


What is the USPTO?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office is the agency of the Department of Commerce in charge of granting patents and registering trademarks in the U.S. The USPTO advises the President, Secretary of Commerce and various government agencies on ways to protect, enforce, and promote intellectual property policy in the U.S. and abroad.

The website of the USPTO is https://www.uspto.gov/


What are the grounds for a Trademark Application to be opposed?

Objections to a trademark application can be raised on various grounds, including infringement of proprietary rights, use of misleading marks, employment of disparaging signs, violation of rights related to a company or business name, and the utilization of descriptive or non-distinctive marks.

How can I cancel or annul a trademark?

The USPTO will cancel a trademark usually for a lack of use or by request.  Between the fifth and sixth years after a trademark has been registered, the owner will be required to file maintenance documentation with accompanying fees.  Failure to do so will render a trademark abandoned and the trademark registration will be automatically cancelled by the USPTO for a lack of use.  If a party contests the use of a trademark in commerce because its use causes damage to the one contesting the mark, the USPTO will allow the one contesting the use of a mark to file a Petition to Cancel the trademark.  If the cancellation petition goes uncontested, the mark will be cancelled.

Basic Concepts
How do I perform a trademark search?

First, we recommend your start by defining the class you want to register for. You can find your class, using our Trademark Class Search tool. Using this tool you enter your product/service, and it will tell you the class or classes you should register for.

After you have found your class(es), you can use our Trademark Search engine, or go directly to your country's Trademark Office and perform the search there.

When searching, try different combinations of your name. For example, if you are searching for AMAZON, look for AMASON, HAMAZON, or similar word patterns. Try several different combinations of words and spellings.

Trademark Search may be challenging and time-consuming and, if you do not have the time or experience, our company offers the service Trademark Study. The Study will give you details about the classes where you might want to register your trademark, it will also include a list of identical and similar trademarks, and finally, it will provide you an Attorney's recommendation about registration possibilities and use of your trademark.

What is a trademark class search?

To help in the administration of trademarks, most countries in the world have adopted the Nice Classification (International Classification of Nice) which groups all products and services into 45 classes: 34 for products and 11 for services.

For example, assume you want to register 'RackTacket Remote Rockets' in the trademark classes for toys, rockets, and rocket launchers. The names that sound like 'RackTacket Remote Rockets' may still be available in a different trademark category for, say, pharmaceuticals or leather goods. You have claimed toys and rockets rather than the pharmaceutical or leather goods categories.

You can use our Trademark Class Search engine to search your class or you can order a Trademark Study so an attorney can review your products and services and advise you on the classes to apply. 


Do I need an attorney to perform a trademark search?

No, you don’t, but if you have little or no experience dealing with trademarks, we suggest you seek professional help. Our company offers the service Trademark Study. The Study gives you details of the classes in which you might want to register your trademark; it also lists identical and similar trademarks, and finally, you get an Attorney's recommendation about registration possibilities and use of your trademark.

You can use our Trademark Search tool too.

What is a Trademark Study?

It is an in-depth trademark search report, it will not only list identical and similar trademarks (graphic & phonetic) that may conflict with yours but also give you an Attorney's opinion about registration probabilities and the class(es) that belong to your product(s)/service(s). The Study includes the following sections:

a) Optimal Class Protection 
Includes identifying under which classes it would be advisable that your trademark be registered. Classes are determined using the description of your products and/or services.

b) Similarity Search
Our attorneys will perform an in-depth search of existing registered trademarks under the relevant class, identifying those of graphic or phonetic similarity.

c) Review and Recommendation
Based on the search results, our attorneys will give a recommendation about registration probabilities. 
Order your Trademark Study and start today your trademark registration process!
Why sometimes trademark applications are refused? 

Usually, trademarks are refused by the trademark office when they found that your trademark is:

  • Similar to existing marks using sound, meaning, or appearance, and also for the same products/services. 
  • An unoriginal description of a service, product, or geographic location is easily confused by the public with other brands
  • Deceptive, confusing, or misleading. Avoid vulgar phrases no matter how popular they are.
  • A person or family surname.
What is the difference between a strong and weak mark?

The characteristics of a registrable trademark can be subtle. A professional trademark search will find areas where your proposed mark overlaps pre-existing trademarks. This task is critical since infringement of someone's existing property rights leads directly to the rejection of or opposition to your trademark application.

Once you verify a mark’s uniqueness through a search, consider the strength or weakness of your trademark design in preventing future infringement. The design characteristics will decide any difficulties other parties would have copying your mark for counterfeiting purposes or creating a similar yet legally permissible version as a business competitor. For example, suggestive, fanciful, or arbitrary marks that do not directly describe your goods or services in commonly-used terms are strong marks. Descriptive or generic marks that use popular phrases for goods or services may be registrable but are harder to defend as unique. Trademarks that are easy to reproduce or counterfeit are weak marks.    

Part of the application process for a trademark is reviewing the strength or weakness of your design compared to existing marks already registered. An authorizing body also considers the hazards of potential future disputes over infringement issues and property rights. 

What happens if my trademark is already filed or registered?

If you discover that another company has a pending application or has a registered trademark, and the other party shares common business products/services with you, they have priority over the mark, so you probably need to find another trademark to register.

In countries where 'common law' applies (Like the U.S.), their use of the mark before your trademark filing also gives them a claim to property rights depending on the scope of their use of the mark.

If the other mark owner used their trademark for a limited time in a limited area, you might be able to resubmit a registration application with Trademark Office.  Keep in mind your application has now a very high probability of rejection. 

Why should I invest in a trademark?

By registering a mark, you can become its exclusive owner. Registration uniquely distinguishes your mark from competing marks in the same sector so that your clients can differentiate your products or services. This allows consumers that are satisfied with the given product and/or service to be able to buy or use that product and/or service. All the major companies and corporations register their trademarks as can we all see from the circle-R symbol that hovers beside their distinctive logos and names.

Registration also provides legal protection, preventing third parties from copying or imitating your mark, cashing in on your reputation, and damaging your prestige. And if they try, you can take them to court and sue them for the damages.

Investing in a trademark will provide protection through the local trademark office of the respective country and will also result in a greater connection with your clients and an increase in the value of your company as the registration will become a company asset.

Why does a trademark matter to me and my business?

The similarity between trademarks confuses the marketplace and creates an opportunity for counterfeiters to steal your profits, use your brand awareness, and damage your reputation. Similar marks composed of words that sound, appear, or have the same meaning across different languages are worth consideration when choosing your personal or business mark.

A well-searched, correctly registered trademark helps confirm in the minds of consumers and through the eyes of the courts and governing bodies around the world that your mark identifies you as the source of the product or service.

The choice of a trademark for a business needs careful thought and planning. Subtle factors can add to the uniqueness of your mark. Consider the strength or weakness of your trademark design in differentiating you from the competition in your niche marketplace in thwarting potential counterfeiting. Is your mark memorable? Will your trademark attract attention especially online through its clarity, style, and uniqueness? Will the public remember it over time? If you move into foreign markets, will your choice of design translate well and not offend people in other countries with other cultures? 

The United States Patent Office reminds people that they can only register a person's claim to goods, services, and intellectual property. Property owners have ultimate responsibility for enforcing their rights. Proper registration of a trademark is a fundamental step in protecting your claims.

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