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Rush Hour Legal: Five Common DIY Trademark Filing Mistakes and How to Fix Them

1. Weak Trademarks- A trademark must be distinctive to be protectable. Descriptive or generic terms are often rejected.

Example: Naming your coffee shop "Best Coffee."

Fix: Choose a unique and memorable name, like "JavaWave."

2. Incorrect Classification-The USPTO requires you to classify your goods or services correctly. Misclassification can lead to office actions.

Example: Filing under "clothing" for a shoe brand.

Fix: Use the USPTO's ID Manual or consult a trademark attorney to select accurate classes.

3. Improper Specimen Submission-Your specimen must show the trademark as it’s used "in commerce".

Example: Submitting a business card as a specimen.

Fix: Provide a photo of the product packaging or a screenshot of your website with the mark displayed.

4. Inadequate Trademark Search-Not conducting a thorough search for existing trademarks - or not understanding what to look for- can result in rejection due to likelihood of confusion.

Example: Overlooking similar trademarks like "TechGear" when registering "TechWear."

Fix: Learn to use the USPTO’s TESS database or hire a professional search service.

5. Incomplete Application-Any errors or omissions in the application can lead to delays or rejections.

Example: Missing owner information, domicile address, or signature.

Fix: Carefully review the application, ensuring all fields are filled out correctly. Double-check details before submission.


Avoiding these common mistakes can streamline your trademark application process. For professional assistance and to ensure your brand is protected, consider consulting with a trademark attorney. Shannon Davis Legal is here to help you navigate the complexities of trademark filing with ease. Contact us today for expert guidance.

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