Trademark applications can be refused for a variety of reasons. One such reason is Section 2(d) – Likelihood of Confusion with another trademark. Essentially what this means is that the proposed trademark application conflicts with a trademark that’s either already registered, or a prior pending application that was filed before the application in question.
The risk of receiving a likelihood of confusion refusal can be mitigated by a proper clearance search. I’m talking about a PROPER clearance search; not a basic index conducted by a non-trademark attorney. Contrary to popular belief, a trademark search is slightly more complicated than typing the trademark in the USPTO website.
Likelihood of confusion refusals are not fun. They are generally the hardest refusal to overcome, however the application process allows for certain procedures that may convince the USPTO to reconsider the refusal and allow the trademark to continue on the registration process. Unfortunately, the options are often limited by the drafting of the initial application. We get a lot of inquires from Pro Se applicants that used a junk service such as Legalzoom and in this scenario sometimes we can “fix” the application and sometimes we cannot. The options depend on many factors including limitations from the initial drafting of the application, the nature and number of conflicts cited in the office action refusal, the goods or services in question, and the circumstances of the applicant.
If you’ve received a USPTO Office Action Refusal based on a 2(d) Likelihood of Confusion with another trademark email us your trademark serial number and we can schedule a free phone consultation to discuss your options.