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Olivia Jade Finds Out Preparing a Trademark Application is Harder than You Think

After allegedly allowing her parents, Lori Loughlin and J. Mossimo Giannulli, handle having someone else fill out her application to the University of Southern California, you would think Olivia Jade would be well-versed in getting other people to fill out applications for her. Unfortunately, like the rest of us, the people the 19-year-old beauty influencer Olivia Jade had fill out her trademark application for “Olivia Jade Beauty” made a few technical errors.

The technical errors included using the wrong punctuation in the trademark application. Unfortunately for Olivia Jade, the Trademark Office, has some rather hard and fast rules when it comes to using commas and semicolons in a trademark application. Not to bore anyone with the details, but in a trademark application for federal trademark registration, commas are to be used in the identification of goods or services to separate items within a particular category of goods or services. Semicolons, on the other hand, are used in the identification of goods or services to separate distinct categories of goods or services within a single class.  The proper use of commas and semicolons is far from the most esoteric of the technical requirements mandated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If anyone is interested in perusing hundreds of pages of these odd and ever-changing rules, the The Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) will be right up their alley. Master the TMEP and navigating the odd world of applying for federal trademark registration should be no problem, at least until the USPTO rejects the trademark application based on a court case or two, at which point it may require a law degree to prepare a proper legal argument in response.

This is not so much a critique of Olivia Jade’s trademark lawyers, who by all estimation are generally very good at what they do. This is more to point out how difficult and technical preparing an application for federal trademark registration can be. If even veteran trademark lawyers, with hundreds of federal trademark applications under their collective belts, have difficulty preparing trademark application and comporting with all the technicalities required by the USPTO, just think how difficult it would be for a layperson to get it right.

One big difference between trademark lawyers and laypeople is that when seasoned trademark lawyers make a minor technical error, they typically remedy it in a way that does not permanently impair any trademark registration eventually issuing on the application. Conversely, when a layperson makes an error in a federal trademark application, such as an incorrect date of first use, the trademark registration may issue with the defect in place.

The trademark owner may never realize their mistake until they actually try to defend or enforce their trademark rights. It is at this point, when the opposing party has their own trademark lawyer look into the matter, that the error will likely be revealed. Such revelation could invalidate the trademark registration and undermine the trademark owner’s attempt to defend or assert federal trademark rights they never really had, but it could also force the trademark owner to pay potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in punitive damages and the other parties’ attorneys’ fees.

The bottom line is that navigating the Byzantine world of federal trademark applications is hard. It takes a lot of study, and a lot of talent to do it well. Olivia Jade’s trademark lawyer made some mistakes in her trademark application, but they will fix those mistakes, and make sure the resulting trademark registration will not implode five years down the road when it comes time to assert the trademark registration against an infringer. Whether you are a start-up or a Fortune 1000 company, this is critical information to understand before embarking on any trademark or branding protection strategy.

Brett Trout

Posted in Choosing the Best Lawyer, social media, Trademark Law.

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