Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Notice of Opposition
There are many steps to obtaining a trademark, and sometimes, even if a trademark application is approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the process of finalizing it can be far from over. One potential complication is when another party files a formal Notice of Opposition in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), claiming that the trademark should not be granted.
What Is a Notice of Opposition?
Every two weeks, the USPTO publishes approved trademarks for possible opposition. If you have reason to believe that a new trademark should not be granted, you have the opportunity to file a Notice of Opposition. On the other hand, if your trademark application has been published, another party may file a notice to oppose your trademark, and you will be forced to defend against it.
There are different reasons why a trademark may be opposed, including:
- The proposed trademark is so similar to an existing trademark that it may be confusing to the public.
- The trademark may dilute the value of an existing well-known trademark.
- The trademark is a last name.
- The trademark is generic or merely descriptive.
- The trademark suggests a false connection or origin, or sponsorship.
What Is Required in a Notice of Opposition?
To file a valid Notice of Opposition, a party must have a legitimate interest or stake in stopping the trademark from registering. Generally, owning a confusingly similar trademark that may suffer damage will qualify as a real interest and thus standing to file.
In addition, a Notice of Opposition must detail the specific grounds on which a trademark is opposed with a clear explanation supporting those grounds. While you are not required to have a TTAB attorney to represent you in regard to a Notice of Opposition, an experienced Trademark Trial and Appeal Board lawyer will know the most persuasive language and arguments to use to support your claims.
What Happens Next?
After a Notice of Opposition is filed, the trademark applicant has about a month to defend the application by filing an answer to the opposition.
The TTAB will then proceed with the opposition proceeding. The proceeding is similar to a lawsuit in federal or state court, with negotiations between the parties, a discovery phase, briefs, motions, possible oral arguments, and finally trial. If the parties cannot settle the matter, the TTAB will review the record and issue a decision usually in about 6 months. The losing party will have the opportunity to appeal an unfavorable decision, if necessary.
Consult with a TTAB Attorney Today
We are a very experienced law firm in handling TTAB matters. Our years of experience in TTAB cases has allowed us to sharpen strategies that win TTAB cases quickly. As a result, we have a very high win percentage in Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cases. To review some the over 200 TTAB cases that we have handled, you may click here.
If you are involved a Notice of Opposition, please contact us via contact form today.
The results mentioned above were dependent on the facts of the case, and results of such cases differ if based on different facts, thus the above statements do not constitute guarantees‚ warranties‚ or predictions regarding the outcome of your legal matter.