I have received an office action with "likelihood of confusion" as the reason for dismissal. What should I do?

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Written by Tomas Orsula

Senior Trademark Attorney

If you received a likelihood of confusion refusal from the USPTO, it means the examining attorney has identified an existing US trademark they deem confusingly similar to yours.

First off, it's important to realize that with over a million trademark applications filed in the US each year, likelihood of confusion refusals happen often, and receiving one might not automatically mean losing your trademark.

Next, it's important to carefully read the office action and the examiner's reasoning for the ruling. The next steps will then depend on your case, but the most common strategies to overcome this type of refusal include:

  • Proving the marks in question are, in fact, not similar,
  • Limiting your list of goods and services to avoid the overlap between your application and the other trademark,
  • Contacting the other party and proposing a co-existence agreement.

To overcome a likelihood of confusion refusal, it might be necessary to prepare a solid legal argument supporting your case or negotiate with a third party, all of which a trademark attorney can help you with.

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