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question.jpgIn Trademarks

What can’t I register as a trademark?

For federal trademarks, there are a variety of reasons that the Patent and Trademark Office (commonly referred to as the PTO) might reject a trademark application. These reasons include (but are not limited to):

1. A mark will be rejected if it is likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception with a mark already registered with the PTO.

2. A mark will be rejected if it is merely descriptive of the goods and services and has not acquired secondary meaning (although you can register such a mark on the weaker Supplemental Register).

3. A mark will be rejected if it simply consists of a generic term.

4. A mark will be rejected if it primarily describes, or is deceptive about, the geographic origins of the goods and services.

5. A mark will be rejected if it is primarily merely a surname.

6. A mark will be rejected if it is deemed immoral, deceptive or scandalous.

7. A mark will be rejected if it disparages or falsely suggests a connection with people, institutions, beliefs or national symbols.

8. A mark will be rejected if it uses the flag, coat of arms or other insignia of the United States, any state or any foreign nation.

9. A mark will be rejected if it uses the name, portrait or signature of any living person without that person’s written consent.

10. A mark will be rejected if it uses the name, signature or portrait of a deceased President of the United States during the life of his widow without her written consent.