Absolute Grounds for Refusal of Trademark Registration

A trademark registration application may be rejected on absolute or definable grounds, such as the presence of competing marks, well-known marks, or restrictions on registration. This article will look at trademark objections from the perspective of absolute reasons to reject a trademark.

Absolute Grounds for Refusal of Trademark Registration

Absolute Grounds for Refusal

Trademarks that fail to distinguish one person’s goods or services from those of another are vulnerable to rejection under the absolute grounds for trademark denial because they lack distinctive character. The following are categorical grounds for rejecting a trademark registration, as per the Trademark Act:

  • Trademarks that lack any identifying characteristics, i.e., trademarks that cannot distinguish one person’s goods or services from those of another;
  • Trademarks consist solely of marks or indications that may be used in commerce to represent the type, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin, or time of manufacture or rendering of products or services, or other attributes of goods or services;
  • Trademarks that are only composed of signs that are now widely used in modern speech or in respectable, well-established commercial endeavours are ineligible for registration.

Distinctive Character of Trademark

A trademark’s lack of distinctiveness is one of the most frequent justifications for outright refusal. In accordance with trademark regulations, distinctive character refers to the use of the mark by the general public to distinguish between items with which the trademark holder is or may be conducting business and goods with which the trademark holder has no connection.

Overcoming Objection under Absolute Grounds for Refusal

A trademark applicant may demonstrate that the mark has acquired a distinctive personality as a result of its prior use in order to appeal a trademark denial based on absolute grounds. You could use an affidavit to provide any of the following types of evidence:

  • The applicant must be able to demonstrate that the mark was used to denote the business origin of the goods.
  • As a result of this use, the general public (or at least a large section of it) has grown to rely on the mark to identify the commercial origin of items in the course of business.
  • If it is one of several marks used by the undertaking to indicate the trade origin of the goods, the Trademark Officer must be convinced that the mark applied for has developed to foster a concrete expectation among the relevant public that goods bearing that mark originate from, or are under the control of, a single undertaking.