What are the most common grounds for application dismissal by USPTO?

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Written by Igor Demcak

Founder & Trademark Attorney

There are various reasons why a US trademark application might receive a refusal. The most common are:

  1. Likelihood of confusion. If the assigned US examining attorney finds a very similar/identical trademark with a registered or pending status, they might issue an Office action based on the "Likelihood of confusion". In some cases, it is possible to overcome this dismissal; however, it depends on the similarity between the marks.
  2. Generic mark. If the mark is too generic concerning given goods and services, the application can get dismissed.
  3. Low distinctiveness. If the mark fails to distinguish goods and services sold under a given brand from other goods and services, it usually cannot be registered.
  4. The description of goods and services is not accurate. If the description of goods and services fails to meet the criteria of the USPTO, or the goods and services are not classified properly, the application can get dismissed.
  5. The specimen is not sufficient. If the specimen does not properly showcase that the trademark is used in commerce for the given classes of goods and services, the application can be dismissed.

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