Reasons for Trademark Application Rejection
A registered trademark can help the trademark owner prevent unauthorized use of the mark and create a precious intangible asset for the company. However, the trademark registration process takes anywhere between 12-18 months to know the final status of a filed trademark application. The trademark application process takes a long time, many businesses begin building a brand around a mark while the trademark application is still pending. If the trademark application is finally approved and the mark is registered, then the efforts spent on the brand building are protected. However, if for some reason the mark is not registered, then there is a possibility for the brand to be under threat. therefore, we look at some of the top reasons for trademark application rejection, so these mistakes can be avoided while choosing a business name or trade name.
A. Generic Terms
Words or terms that are normally found in dictionaries cannot be trademarked. For example, a company cannot trademark the word “MILK” to sell milk. Since, milk is a generic term for the product; one company cannot be given the right to use the generic term exclusively.
B. Descriptive Terms
Words that are commonly used to describe a product can also not be trademarked as it would be considered a descriptive term. For example, the mark HOT is likely to be rejected for marketing beverages as being descriptive. If a company is given the exclusively right to market its beverages using the term HOT, it would be unfair. Hence, such expressive terms for products or services cannot be trademarked.
Also, qualitative or praise terms such as FAST, COLD, CLASSIC or INNOVATIVE cannot be trademark unless it is part of an otherwise distinctive mark.
C. Deceptive Trademarks
Deceptive trademarks are marks that may misguide or misinform consumers as to the nature, quality or geographical origin of the product. For EXAMPLE, a trademark that resonates with cotton for a polyester product would be rejected as a deceptive trademark.
D. Offensive Terms
Trademarks that contain disrespectful terms or words that are contrary to public order or ethics cannot be registered. Also, words and marks that are considered to be offensive or violate commonly- undertake norms of ethics are generally not allowed to be registered as trademarks.
E. Marks Similar to an Existing Trademark
Many trademark applications are repudiate because they could be in dispute with an existing registered trademark. Having two similar trademarks is contrary to the IP rules and would cause confusion among consumers. Hence, any trademark that is indistinguishable or could potential be confused with an existing trademark would not be registered.
F. Official Marks
Trademarks that contain official names, , official hallmarks flags, armorial bearings and emblems of states and international organizations cannot be trademarked as they contain elements that are protected under National Regulations.
Choosing a Business Name
To improve the chances of selecting a business name that can be trademarked, follow the checklist below:
- Ensure that the mark does not fall under any of the categories listed above.
- Perform a trademark search to ensure there are no similar trademarks.
- Perform a domain name search to ensure that the domain is available for the mark – to avoid any cybersquatting in the future.
- Get a consultation from our trademark expert, if in doubt. Call us at 01149095741, 41101741