A deceptive trademark (as opposed to a deceptively misdescriptive trademark) is not eligible for registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) under any circumstances. The Lanham Act (which is the law that governs federal trademark registration) specifically prohibits the registration of a trademark that “consists of or comprises deceptive matter.” This means that the USPTO is legally obligated to refuse registration of your trademark if it determines that your mark is wholly deceptive or includes a deceptive term.
If your trademark application has gone abandoned because you unintentionally failed to timely file the Statement of Use, an Extension of Time, or a response to a trademark office action, you may be able to revive your abandoned trademark application by filing a Petition to Revive.
Filing an intent to use trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) may be a good option if your trademark is not yet in use in commerce. It’s essentially a way to reserve your right to use a name, logo, or slogan in connection with the advertising and sale of specific products/services. Assuming your intent to use trademark application eventually becomes a trademark registration, all of your rights will date back to the filing date of the application. In other words, filing an intent to use trademark application prevents others from potentially acquiring common law trademark rights in a similar name while your trademark application is going through the registration process.
The Notice of Allowance is a very important milestone for a trademark application that was filed on an intent to use basis. The Notice of Allowance essentially indicates that (1) the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) approved your application after examination, (2) your application was published for opposition, and (3) a third-party did not prevent the registration of your trademark. Although the Notice of Allowance brings you one step closer to the successful registration of your trademark, it’s critical that you understand what you need to do next in order to complete the registration process.
You might see the phrase “published for opposition” when you check the status of your trademark application on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. The meaning of “published for opposition” is something that all owners of pending trademark applications should understand because it can be the most consequential part of the entire US trademark registration process.
Current and prospective clients ask me all the time, “How long to register a trademark in the US?” Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that seemingly simple question. Depending on your particular situation, it could be a matter of months. But, in some cases, it could take many years. The good news is that no matter how long it takes for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to issue the Certificate of Registration, all of your federal trademark rights date back to the filing date of your trademark application. In other words, it’s not the actual registration date that matters. In fact, the registration date is only relevant to calculate trademark registration renewal deadlines. It’s the application filing date that reserves your nationwide priority to use your trademark in connection with the advertising and sale of the products/services listed in your application.
The Section 15 Declaration of Incontestability is a document that’s filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the purpose of making a federally registered trademark incontestable. The Section 15 Declaration may only be filed if (1) the mark is registered on the Principal Register (not the Supplemental Register), (2) the mark is still in use in commerce, and (3) the mark has been in continuous use for five consecutive years subsequent to the date of registration. Once the USPTO acknowledges the Section 15 Declaration, the trademark owner’s right to use its mark in commerce in connection with the products/services listed in the registration becomes incontestable.
The issue of Supplemental Register vs. Principal Register frequently arises during the US trademark registration process. If you’ve read my article titled “What is the Supplemental Register for US Trademarks?,” you already know that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) maintains two separate trademark registers. To recap, the Principal Register is reserved for trademarks that are considered under the law to be “distinctive.” In contrast, the Supplemental Register is for non-distinctive marks, which are trademarks that have not yet acquired distinctiveness or “secondary meaning” in the minds of consumers. I encourage you to read my previous article regarding the Supplemental Register so that you better understand the information presented here.
An Amendment to Allege Use is a sworn declaration filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) indicating that your trademark is currently in use in commerce in connection with all of the products/services recited in your trademark application. The Amendment to Allege Use requires you to (1) set forth the date on which your mark was first used anywhere in the United States, (2) set forth the date on which your mark was first used in interstate commerce, and (3) submit a proper specimen showing actual use of your mark. If you filed your application on an intent to use basis, then you will eventually need to demonstrate actual use of your trademark by filing either an Amendment to Allege Use or the Statement of Use.
The Supplemental Register is provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as a way to federally register certain types of US trademarks. Although it doesn’t offer all of the benefits and protections of the Principal Register, it’s still a valuable tool that should be utilized under appropriate circumstances.
The USPTO maintains two separate trademark registers. The Principal Register is reserved for trademarks that are considered “distinctive.” On the other hand, the Supplemental Register is for trademarks that have not yet acquired distinctiveness or “secondary meaning” in the minds of consumers.