The USPTO reviews many relevant factors and evidence before reaching a conclusion regarding the approval of a trademark. In cases where the USPTO believes that the requested mark could lead to confusion between the consumer and a previously registered trademark, the USPTO will place significant weight on an agreement between the applicant and the registered trademark holder. However, the approval agreement should be sufficiently detailed, with concrete reasons and evidence indicating that the parties involved do not foresee consumer confusion and the explicit steps they will take to further minimize them. The “naked” approval agreements (which contain only permission to register the trademark and a brief statement that confusion is unlikely) are much less persuasive to the USPTO. In the end, a high probability of consumer confusion due to extremely similar brands may even null and void the most detailed consent agreement. Under this agreement, a party with a registered (and generally registered) trademark includes a series of reciprocal obligations with a party wishing to create a new trademark allowing both parties to continue to use their trademarks. In some cases, the party in place may require limited changes to the categories of goods and/or services for which the more recent party would like to use its trademark, therefore avoiding unnecessary duplication and confusion. A trademark co-existence agreement is an agreement between two parties to use a similar trademark for marketing purposes without interfering with the other party`s businesses. Such agreements are often concluded because the parties require only the regional use of their trademarks and, therefore, the use of a trademark by other companies will not harm their activities.
Co-existence agreements may also include designs, copyrights and even patents. [Citation required] Tagged with: #trademarktuesday, co-existence agreements, consent A brand coexistence agreement is a broader agreement that offers even greater protection than a simple approval agreement. Co-existence agreements generally include unique restrictions on sites, industries and/or marketing methods in which two parties can use their respective trademarks. These specifications apply in addition to the points mentioned above in the approval agreement. Co-existence agreements are particularly useful for companies wishing to develop and avoid future infringement procedures and/or litigation. The public interest must be taken into account when reaching an agreement on the coexistence of trademarks. This is often the case in situations where two medical companies carry the same brand for unique products, which could cause confusion and have serious consequences for consumers. Companies must also comply with the rules on cartels and abuse of dominance.
Courts may find that similar marks can affect competition in the marketplace. If there is a risk of confusion, trademark owners can hope for the best and do nothing; they can take legal action by opposing the other person`s trademark application or by authorizing the trademark to be filed, and then seeking an injunction; or they can agree on how to co-exist. A simple approval agreement is generally cheaper because it includes less time and resources for the project. However, you will receive what you pay and a co-existence agreement will certainly offer more protection. A company that wants to expand into new regions, sectors, lines or brands should insist that a co-existence agreement be concluded instead of an approval agreement. This allows the company to address the potential risks they are likely to become visible in the future and pave the way for more favourable growth.