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Trademark Suspension

Understanding Suspended Trademark Applications

Lindokuhle Mkhize

Lindokuhle Mkhize

08 December 20234 min read

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trademark suspension

Getting a trademark can be challenging, and one problem you might face is a trademark suspension. In this guide, we'll look at why trademarks get suspended, the role of examining attorneys at the USPTO, and the application process steps.

We'll delve into the importance of:

  • Prior-filed pending applications.
  • Foreign registrations.
  • Priority and first-use dates.
  • The significance of seeking legal counsel.

Additionally, we'll provide insights on:

  • How to respond to suspension notices.
  • Ways to check the status of your application.

If your application conflicts with another, an attorney may notify you to temporarily halt your registration process. This suspension aims to prevent the registration of similar marks and to prevent confusion among consumers.

If a letter of suspension is received, it indicates that the application is temporarily paused until specific issues are addressed. The attorney will conduct further investigations to determine if your mark can be compatible with the application.

What is a suspended trademark application?

A suspended trademark application is when the USPTO stops an application. It happens because of conflicts with other applications. If that happens, the attorney can send a notice to pause the examination for the applicant's mark.

When your trademark is suspended, it's essential to check both marks' filing and use dates. This step helps evaluate the potential impact on the registration process and the strength of your claim.

A common reason for a trademark suspension is the likelihood of confusion. This goes hand in hand with a prior-filed pending application. This means another applicant has filed a similar trademark before you. Usually, this application is still pending examination. 

The USPTO suspends your application to allow time for the prior application to be examined and resolved. To address this suspension, applicants can conduct thorough research. This evaluates the potential conflicts, such as narrowing the descriptions of services.

How do I respond to a letter of suspension?

When you respond to your suspension, examine the issues the attorney mentioned. Craft a well-reasoned response that addresses the following:

  • The concerns
  • Evidence of coexistence
  • Persuasive arguments to overcome the suspension

Best practices for navigating and resolving trademark application suspensions

There are several possible outcomes when a prior-pending application is involved. It may result in rejection or an allowance. Another outcome could be the requirement of a coexistence agreement between the applicants.

Before filing a foreign application, conduct a thorough search. This will help avoid delays and reduce the risk of a suspended trademark application. Choose a distinctive mark, and work with an attorney who can guide you through the process.

You should take a USPTO trademark suspension letter seriously. It's an official communication that requires your attention and a timely response. Ignoring or mishandling the suspension letter can affect your application.

There are various reasons for trademark suspensions, including:

  • conflicting marks
  • similarity in goods or services
  • potential confusion among consumers

Understanding these reasons can help you navigate the suspension review process more effectively.

The duration of a suspension varies based on the complexity of the issue. Once the suspension is removed, the examining attorney will resume reviewing your application. The final decision will depend on the evidence and arguments presented during the suspension period.

Check the trademark ownership records during the suspension inquiry to support your claim. This step can provide valuable insights into the history of the conflicting mark and help establish coexistence.

To avoid being suspended in the future, always do a thorough search before submitting an application. You can use this search to find conflicts and make informed choices about your mark's viability.

Suppose you can't find a reason to challenge the previous application and get legal advice. A trademark attorney with experience can help you decide what to do next. They can give you advice on the best way to proceed.

A prior-filed application you relied upon might also face suspension. Sometimes, you need to talk to a lawyer and find solutions like coexistence agreements.

Consult an attorney if you have trademark suspensions or other trademark law issues. It's always advisable to provide expert guidance and represent your interests.

To avoid suspending your trademark application, follow best practices such as:

  • conducting a thorough search
  • using a distinctive mark

What can also help is engaging an attorney as a strategic partner from the beginning.

If you need help with a trademark issue, like responding to a suspension or applying. In that case, our experienced trademark attorneys are here to help. Contact us for personalized guidance and support.

Trademark suspensions can be a complex and challenging process.

With proper understanding and guidance, you can navigate through them. To have better registration success and protect your trademarks:

  1. Do thorough searches.
  2. Remember to respond to suspension notices on time.
  3. Seek legal advice when necessary.

A proactive approach is vital to avoiding delays and potential conflicts.


What does it mean if a trademark is suspended?

So, in layman's terms, trademark suspension indicates that your trademark application will not be processed further and will be put on hold until the reason for the suspension is eliminated. The most annoying part is that you can do nothing to eliminate the causes but wait.

Can you reinstate a canceled trademark?

The registered owner must file a petition to revive with all required requirements and costs within two months after the cancellation/expiration notification date. Suppose it has been more than two months since the USPTO cancellation notification. In that case, the trademark owner must file a new application for the identical mark.

What are the grounds for trademark cancellation?

There are various legal grounds for canceling a trademark registration, including priority, abandonment (by not using the trademark for at least three consecutive years with the purpose not to restart use), and fraud.

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Lindokuhle Mkhize, a skilled creative copywriter and content lead at Trademarkia, brings a wealth of experience in driving innovation and managing teams. With previous success in starting and growing the Innovation and Marketing department at her former creative agency, Lindokuhle boasts expertise in leadership and delivering compelling content. Based in South Africa, Lindokuhle's work focuses on key themes of creativity, effective communication, and strategic marketing.