Thursday, June 17, 2010

Should I file one TM app for two classes ... or two apps?

Dear Rich: Is it smart to enter separate trademark applications for different classes of products if I'm afraid one class might hold up another, that is, in terms of showing proof of use, or if I'm afraid one class may be rejected/objected? Also, can I submit separate applications under the same class, but for different products? For example, if I submit an application, class 16, calendars, then at some point realize I want to sell posters, can I submit another application, class 16, posters? If so, is there a waiting period? Coincidentally, the Dear Rich Staff was faced with a similar issue at work the other day and our advice in that particular situation was for the applicant to file two applications because we felt one of the classes was likely to be problematic. The other was likely to fly right through. As you know, there is no additional cost for filing two applications (versus one application in two classes). It's really your call but we see no disadvantage to filing separate apps.
Adding other goods in the same class. Yes, you can add other goods in the same class, later. That depends on your budget and the extent of your marketing. Often, it's not necessary if the goods are closely related (as the trademark examiner is likely to have your back). On the other hand, you can't always count on the USPTO and if the goods are a key to your company's success, it might be worth the money to cover your bases with a new application. As for the waiting period, the time between filing and publication is impossible to predict. Expect six to nine months minimum. We'd like to sputter on but something's come up and we need to grab the Bushnells.