Companies Who Filed The Most Trademark Oppositions In 2017
Companies Who Filed the Most Trademark Oppositions in 2017
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Background on USPTO and Official Gazette
The USPTO publishes the Official Gazette (“OG”) as official notice to the public of trademark applications the agency intends to register.
The OG is published weekly on Tuesdays and each issue includes bibliographic information and a drawing for each trademark. Any party, such as a trademark owner, “who believes it would be harmed by the registration may file an objection (opposition) within that 30-day period with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.”
An opposition is similar to a proceeding in a federal court, but is held before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), an administrative court within the USPTO. The opposing party may also ask the TTAB for an extension of time to file the opposition.
Many businesses regularly check the OG for marks they believe will harm them, as filing an opposition to a trademark application is usually cheaper than challenging a registered mark in court. There are many reasons why a party may bring an opposition, but the opposer must be damaged directly in some way.
Concept of Brand Bully
A “brand bully” is a company that files a large amount of oppositions to trademark applications without a strong legal basis. Simply filing trademark oppositions does not make you a brand bully, as active enforcement is necessary to preserve trademark rights.
However, many companies file oppositions against marks that would not directly damage them. Brand bullies often rely on the “fame” or “strength” of their marks, even if such fame has not been proven in court.
A brand bully is overly aggressive, especially to smaller or weaker trademark applicants It can be intimidating to receive an opposition, and many applicants abandon their trademark application even if they were likely to succeed in defending their applied-for mark.
Trademark owners must oppose applications that could harm their marks. However, 'brand bullies' often intimidate owners into abandoning their applications. The only way to stop them is to challenge them, a step many applicants avoid, leading to trademark abandonment.
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