A federal trademark opposition is a legal proceeding before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in which a person or entity (the “Opposer”) seeks to prevent another person or entity (the “Applicant”) from registering a trademark. The Opposer argues that the trademark sought to be registered by the Applicant is likely to cause confusion with a pending or registered trademark owned by the Opposer or would otherwise be barred under Trademark Law. The trademark opposition is heard by an administrative law judge with the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). The TTAB will make a decision on whether the trademark can be registered or not, based on the evidence presented by both parties.
A trademark opposition can be based on a variety of grounds, such as likelihood of confusion with an existing trademark, genericness, descriptiveness, or dilution of another well-known mark.
Trademark oppositions must be filed within 30 days of the publication of the mark in the Official Gazette, which is a weekly publication of the USPTO that lists recently approved trademark applications.
Trademark Monitoring – Actively Policing The Marketplace
Our trademark attorneys are often asked the question – how do I find out when a trademark applicant with the USPTO is trying to register a trademark that may cause damage to my business or possibly infringe on my registered trademark? Basically, there are two different you can identify trademarks that, if registered, may cause confusion in the marketplace. First, a you can engage our law firm to provide periodic trademark monitoring services whereby we will actively police all state and federal trademark databases for conflicting (similar or identical) trademarks. If we identify an applied-for trademark that is potentially conflicting, our trademark attorneys can handle those issues by filing a trademark opposition (or trademark cancellation) to ensure your trademark rights are protected. Our trademark monitoring services are affordable so if you or your business has the budget to engage our law firm, we would certainly recommend this option. For more information, see our page on trademark monitoring services and trademark oppositions.
Second, you may identify applied-for federal trademark registrations by browsing the USPTO’s weekly Trademark Official Gazette (TOG or TMOG). Each week the USPTO publishes the Trademark Official Gazette; which contains a list of trademarks that are seeking trademark registration. Each trademark published will identify the trademark being registered, the goods and/or services described in the trademark application, and the date of alleged first use for use-based applications. If you discover a trademark that it may be conflicting, you will need to follow specific procedures and deadlines in order to properly oppose the registration of the trademark.
If your trademark application has been opposed, or you believe an applied-for trademark with the USPTO may cause damage to your brand or your business, contact us. Our trademark attorneys can assist!