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Top Victims Of Trademark Opposition In 2017

Top Victims of Trademark Opposition in 2017



31 January 20186 min read

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Top Victims of Trademark Opposition in 2017

Issue of Bullying in Trademarks

Bullying was a popular issue in 2017. While its main relevance was in schools, there was another form of bullying that took place, in the field of trademarks.

Role of the USPTO and Trademark Opposition Process

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a government agency and a branch in the U.S. Department of Commerce. The primary role of the USPTO is to register trademarks and grant patents for the protection of inventions. 

Once a trademark application is approved, the USPTO publishes it to the Official Gazette (OG). The main function of the OG is to provide notice to the public that the USPTO plans to issue registrations for new trademarks. According to the USPTO, “any party who believes it would be harmed by the registration may file an objection within that 30-day period with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.” In the trademark world, this process is called an ‘opposition’.

Reasons for Filing an Opposition

The mark is primarily merely a surname (last name); The mark is “disparaging”; The mark is “scandalous”; The mark would dilute the opposer’s “famous” mark; The mark is generic for the Applicant’s goods and/or services; The mark is merely descriptive of its goods and/or services; The mark is functional for its goods and services; The mark falsely suggests a connection with the opposer.

Bullying in the Context of Oppositions

Keep in mind that the list above is non-exhaustive, and this brings up the issue of bullying. Many parties file oppositions because they are in fear that the new trademark may take away business or adversely affect them in some other way. Is this fear justified? In some cases, yes. Is it wrong to file oppositions? No. Do some companies/individuals file oppositions with the sole intention of destroying a trademark registration. Absolutely.


Bullying in trademarks is a significant issue that took place in 2017. The USPTO plays a crucial role in the trademark opposition process, allowing parties to file objections. There are various reasons for filing an opposition, including surnames, disparaging or scandalous marks, dilution of famous marks, generic or descriptive marks, functional marks, and false suggestions of connection. Bullying can occur in oppositions when parties file objections to protect their business interests. 

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