Friday, November 20, 2015

How to Lose Your Trademark Filing Fee - File IPHONE mark

In another lesson on what not to do, an individual in Texas (without the help of an attorney, it seems), filed a federal trademark application for IPHONE AIR as it relates to cell phones, cell phone software, cell phone accessories, and a variety of other related products. This application is in serious trouble considering when I first clicked on it, I thought Apple was in the process of developing an "Air" version of the iPhone, only to find out this application was not filed by Apple, Inc. (this is the kind of confusion trademarks laws are designed to prevent).
It goes without saying that Apple, Inc. holds many, many trademark applications or registrations for both iPhone and the iPad Air and that the above application clearly conflicts with Apple's previous registrations. Given that Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act prohibits the registration of any mark that so resembles a previously registered mark that it is likely to cause confusion among consumers, the Trademark Office will surely issue the above application an Office Action refusing to register it on those grounds.

Even if the Trademark Office did not issue an office action (which is impossible), Apple would file an opposition to this mark during the publication phase at the end of the registration process. During this phase, a pending trademark application is published in the Trademark Office's Official Gazette for 30 days. During that time, anyone who feels they may be damaged by the registration is allowed to file an opposition to the application. Filing this opposition will initiate a lawsuit-like proceeding in front of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

The lesson? Work with a trademark attorney who can help you identify issues like the above. At the very least, an attorney can help you reduce the risk of losing your nonrefundable filing fee like the applicant above. His $225 fee is all but lost.

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