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Challenging Competing Trademarks: Understanding the Letter of Protest

By June 10, 2024No Comments

letter of protestIn trademark law, a letter of protest is a formal document submitted by a third party to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A letter of protest is submitted in accordance with § 1715.01(a) of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP).

This letter is there to let the USPTO know any relevant information that may affect the registration of a pending trademark application. The purpose of a letter of protest is to ensure that the examining attorney has all the necessary information to make a fully informed decision regarding the trademark application. Here are the key aspects of a letter of protest:

  1. Purpose: The primary purpose is to provide evidence or information that the trademark in question should not be registered. This can include evidence of prior use, potential confusion with an existing mark, descriptiveness, or any other reason the trademark might be denied.
  2.  Timing: A letter of protest must be submitted before the mark is published for opposition. Once the mark is published, any objections must be raised through a formal opposition proceeding.
  3. Content: The letter should contain relevant evidence and a clear, concise explanation of why the trademark should not be registered. This can include examples of existing trademarks that might be confused with the new application, descriptions of the goods/services involved, or evidence of the mark being generic or descriptive.
  4. Evaluation: The USPTO will review the letter of protest to determine if the evidence presented is relevant and significant enough to consider. If accepted, the examining attorney will review the information when deciding on the trademark application.
  5. Impact: If the letter of protest is successful, it can lead to the refusal of the trademark application or at least a significant delay while the issues raised are considered. However, the third party submitting the letter does not become a party to the proceedings, and does not have further involvement, unless they choose to file a formal opposition later.

Overall, a letter of protest is a useful tool for third parties to influence the trademark registration process without initiating formal legal action.

For more assistance regarding letters of protest, contact one of our experienced trademark attorneys at 305-570-2208. You can also email our lead attorney Eduardo directly at eduardo@ayalalawpa.com 

We at Ayala Law PA are passionate about helping those in legal need, so please don’t hesitate to schedule a case evaluation with us online here. 

[The opinions in this blog are not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with an attorney about the particulars of your case]. 

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