What Does an Examining Attorney Look For When Reviewing a Trademark Application?

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The Examining Attorneys who review trademark applications at the United States Patent & Trademark Office review applications for compliance with a number of requirements. Some of the key issues are:

  1. Likelihood of confusion with prior pending applications or active registrations. For more about the likelihood of confusion analysis, you can read our guide "When Is There a Likelihood of Confusion Between Two Marks?" Use TrademarkClear.com for your own instant, free trademark search report identifying potential registration risks.
  2. Whether the mark is distinctive. For more on the spectrum of distinctiveness, you can read our guide "What Factors Go Into Picking a "Good" Trademark?" TrademarkClear.com’s instant trademark search analysis provides you with an analysis of the strength of the component parts of a proposed mark.
  3. Whether there are any other substantive issues. Additional issues can include whether the mark is disparaging or scandalous, whether it suggests a connection with a person, and more.
  4. Whether all application formalities have been complied with. The most common issues are (1) whether the descriptions of goods and services are specific and clear enough and classified in the correct international class and (2) whether the specimens of use provided by the applicant are sufficient. You can read more about international classes here, about goods and services here, and about specimens of use here. Other formalities include disclaimers of generic or descriptive terms, translations of any non-English wording in the mark, a description of any design elements in the mark, claims of prior registrations for the same or similar marks, and more.