Approval of your trademark application by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not necessarily mean that your trademark will automatically be registered. In fact, even if your trademark has already been registered, it may not remain live indefinitely without incident. This is because it is possible that someone will file a Notice of Opposition or Petition to Cancel your trademark.
When the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) notifies you that your trademark has been challenged, you must act quickly. Your first step should be to discuss the situation with a skilled trademark litigation attorney. Even if you are confident in your trademark, the process of defending against a challenge can be complicated and must be handled properly to protect your interests.
Filing an Answer—the First Step in Defending Your Trademark
The TTAB will provide information regarding the challenge filed and the schedule for the proceedings that will follow. The most important date at this point is the deadline for your answer. Your answer is the written document you will file with the TTAB in response to the opposition or petition to cancel. You generally have about a month to file an answer. If you do not file your answer in time, you will likely default and the TTAB may automatically find in favor of the other party.
In addition to filing an answer by the deadline, your response must adequately address the allegations raised in the complaint. Specifically, your answer may do the following:
- Challenge standing – Only parties who have a legitimate interest in a trademark or will suffer damages due to your trademark have the right to try to oppose or cancel a registration. If a party does not have legal standing, your answer should argue and support this assertion.
- Defend against the stated grounds – A complaint must cite certain grounds, or reasons, based on trademark laws that support why the challenge should be successful. Your answer should then use trademark laws and arguments to prove that the challenger’s grounds are invalid or irrelevant.
An answer in a TTAB case must be carefully crafted to set out a strong defense from the start. An experienced TTAB lawyer will know how to rely on trademark laws and principles to draft the best answer. In addition, the answer is only the first step in your defense, so you need an attorney who can skillfully represent you throughout every step of the TTAB proceedings.
Contact a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Attorney as Soon as You Receive Notice from the TTAB
We are extremely experienced in handling TTAB matters. Our abundant experience in the TTAB has allowed us to create strategies that win TTAB cases quickly. As a result, our win percentage in the TTAB is very high. To view the over 250 Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cases that we have handled, please click here.
If you are involved in a TTAB matter or are considering one, please contact us for more information 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.