Question: Why Would The USPTO Refuse To Register A Trademark?
Answer: The USPTO will refuse to register matter if it does not function as a trademark. Not all words, names, symbols or devices function as trademarks. For example, matter which is merely the generic name of the goods on which it is used cannot be registered.
Several of the most common (though not the only) grounds for refusing registration are:
- The proposed mark consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter
- The proposed mark may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons (living or dead), institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute
- The proposed mark consists of or comprises the flag or coat of arms, or other insignia of the United States, or of any State or municipality, or of any foreign nation
- The proposed mark consists of or comprises a name, portrait or signature identifying a particular living individual, except by that individual's written consent; or the name, signature, or portrait of a deceased President of the United States during the life of his widow, if any, except by the written consent of the widow
- The proposed mark so resembles a mark already registered in the USPTO that use of the mark on applicant's goods or services are likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception
- The proposed mark is merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of applicant's goods or services
- The proposed mark is primarily geographically descriptive or deceptively geographically misdescriptive of applicant's goods or services
- The proposed mark is primarily merely a surname