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5 steps to improve your Trademark registration chances

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The preliminary work done before filing the application will have a big influence on the trademark registration's success. The more possible stumbling obstacles and dangers you can eliminate ahead of time, the more likely you are to have a smooth application process. Here are some helpful tips for creating a trademark strategy that can increase your chances of obtaining your mark registered.

1. Avoid descriptive marks

Without having to think too hard, it's all too simple to come up with a name that appropriately portrays your product or service. Because innovation is difficult, it looks to be much easier to choose a basic term as the name for your products. It's a terrible concept! To save time, money, and stress avoid using descriptive markers. The fact that the mark is just descriptive is one of the most common reasons for trademark application denial. Consider a phrase that expresses particular features of your product without simply mentioning them. You may even try inventing a new phrase (i.e., a fanciful term).

If you believe in the usage of descriptive terms, you should apply for an acronym if the abbreviation is not already well-known.

2. Do a knockout search

You'll want to stay away from any past trademark applications that might cause confusion. There are two strong reasons for this:

  • to prevent rejections by trademark examining attorneys; and
  • To avoid potential trademark owner objections.

A knockout search identifies trademark applications that are most likely to be denied owing to the risk of confusion. While our knockout search excludes common law trademark usage, a few third-party vendors do.

3. Draft your identification of goods and services carefully

Applicants should use their pre-approved product and service descriptions, according to the USPTO. Responding to an Office Action that suggests adjustments to the identification of goods/services can help trademark applicants avoid delays.

Furthermore, creating an identity that avoids any current trademark applications that may become a registration hurdle is a smart idea. If your mark is almost identical to a registered mark or a previously filed application, for example, intentionally removing some descriptors may reduce the risk of a likelihood of confusion denial.

4. If necessary, pivot to a new mark

It may be advisable to adopt a new mark if a comprehensive search shows a substantially similar mark, especially if your company or product is still in the early phases of development. It'll be inconvenient, but it'll be better than having to switch afterward. Imagine investing thousands of dollars in brand development only to be compelled to liquidate the existing inventory and launch a new brand from the ground up.

5. Apply now or later?

When it comes to protecting intellectual property, the general rule is to file as soon as possible and, if at all possible, to be first in line. This is true for both trademark and patent applications. Even if you haven't sold any products or services yet, you can file for a trademark. If you wait too long, you will be at a major disadvantage since your application will be reviewed after those that were filed before it. This not only means you'll have to wait for the findings of previously filed petitions, but it also means you'll have to oppose such applications.

There are several disadvantages to failing to build a trademark strategy.

Unfortunately, many candidates do not plan ahead of time and submit their applications. As a result, they are obliged to react to challenges that may be insurmountable. A wise trademark strategy aims to avoid such headaches, or at the very least decrease the possibilities of rejection to a level t justifies proceeding.

Even the most successful trademark strategy may have weaknesses.

All of the aforementioned stages can be completed and your trademark application approved by a trademark examining attorney at the USPTO. Since your trademark application is then made public for the opposition, everything looks to be in order. It's impossible to predict how other parties may react to an accepted trademark application. You'll need to design a trademark opposition defense plan if and when your trademark application is contested.

Published in July 2022.

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