A “likelihood of confusion” refusal is a common reason given by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for denying a trademark application. The USPTO will refuse to register a trademark if it believes that the proposed mark is too similar to a pre-existing trademark that is already in use, and that consumers would be likely to confuse the two marks.
The USPTO considers a number of factors when determining if a likelihood of confusion exists, including the similarity of the marks, the similarity of the goods or services associated with the marks, the strength of the prior trademark, and the level of care that consumers are likely to take when purchasing goods or services.
If the USPTO determines that a likelihood of confusion exists, the trademark application will be refused and the applicant must either make changes to the mark to overcome the refusal, or abandon the application. It is important to carefully consider and respond to a likelihood of confusion refusal in a timely manner, as ignoring the refusal can result in the loss of the trademark application.
If your trademark application received a likelihood of confusion refusal, you have several response options:
- Amend your trademark application: You can make changes to your trademark application to distinguish it from the previously registered or pending trademark. This can include changing the mark, modifying the goods or services, or adding additional information to your application.
- File a Request for Reconsideration: You can submit a Request for Reconsideration to the USPTO, explaining why you believe your mark is not likely to cause confusion.
- File a Response to the Refusal: You can file a response to the refusal, presenting arguments and evidence to support your position that your mark is not likely to cause confusion.
- File an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB): If you are unable to resolve the issue through a Request for Reconsideration or Response to the Refusal, you can file an appeal to the TTAB.
It is recommended to consult with a trademark attorney to determine the best response option for your particular situation.