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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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According to the USPTO there are three possible mark formats.

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According to the USPTO there are three possible mark formats. My question is if someone already has the name i want to use for a business trademarked in standard character format, but they operate in a different area of business than me, can i still register a standard character format, or should I register my stylized/design?

Three possible mark formats are available: (1) standard character format; (2) stylized/design format; or (3) sound mark. The standard character format should be used to register word(s), letter(s), number(s) or any combination thereof, without claim to any particular font style, size, or color, and absent any design element. Registration of a mark in the standard character format will provide broad rights, namely use in any manner of presentation. The stylized/design format, on the other hand, is appropriate if you wish to register a mark with a design element and/or word(s) and/or letter(s) having a particular stylized appearance that you wish to protect. Formats 1. and 2. may not be mixed in one mark; i.e., do not submit a representation of a mark that attempts to combine a standard character format and a stylized/design format.

You can still register in the standard character format. You can register the same mark in a different category of goods, and the chances are good that the Trademark Office will accept the registration. The Trademark Office might reject your registration if the category of goods are close or similar such that your trademark might cause consumer confusion. They also might reject the registration if the trademark from the other company is such a strong mark that it has become ubiquitous in the mark that any use of a similar mark would dilute the existing mark. So, for example the Trademark Office is not going to allow registration of new marks for such names like Coca Cola, Xerox, Kodax, Disney, etc. even if the new registrant is in a completely different business then the famous companies. But if the existing mark is not that famous chances are good that it will accept your registration.

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