In today’s political climate, hordes of citizens have found power in protests.  Whether simply showing strength in numbers or sending a message of dissatisfaction to elected officials or the public at large, protests have arisen both spontaneously and in very well planned, organized sequences.   For more than a week now, we have seen peaceful protests against police brutality.  Some leaders of the African-American community have used these protests to highlight racial inequality in other areas.  Unfortunately, some criminals have also seized the moments of chaos for looting, defacing public and private property, and intimidation.  The protestors' message becomes tarnished and diluted by criminal acts.  In the trademark world, we would call that intentional confusion! 

Protests, together with  financial or legal pressure as well as persuasion, can be effective means to achieve change.  As a business lawyer based in Denver, far outside the beltway and all of the craziness of Washington, D.C., I usually stay relatively apolitical for client matters.  However, sometimes I too use the power of protest. . . on a business level.  When I am monitoring my clients’ trademarks for infringement and a watch notice report reveals that a new application which could be considered “confusingly similar” has been filed with the Patent and Trademark Office, we can protest!  Letters of Protest are one method available via the Patent and Trademark Office, for an existing applicant or registrant to let the PTO know that it is disturbed by the presence of a new application which may infringe on that applicant or registrant’s prior rights. 

Please contact me if you’d like me to further explain the Letter of Protest process, or file one on your behalf. 

Original image by Jakob Rosen