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New Guidance Will Boost ‘Generic’ Trademark Denials, Lawyers Say

June 24, 2022, 9:40 PM

The US Patent and Trademark Office’s new trademark examination guidance could lead to more refusals of trademark registrations for being generic, attorneys say.

The examination guide, released in May, removed the decades-old refusal standard that required an examining attorney to find “clear evidence” that a mark is generic and can’t be protected. A generic mark could be something like a basket company calling itself “Basket Co.”

The agency’s update introduces a reduced threshold: if the examiner finds “sufficient evidence” to support a reasonable basis for finding a mark generic, it’s application will be rejected. The change is substantial, attorneys said, ...