PSEUDO MARKS

What is a Pseudo Mark? The USPTO has a pseudo-mark field in its Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to improve the accuracy of searches in its electronic databases (even though the USPTO has no statutory obligation that compels the maintenance of this feature). This pseudo-mark field shows the literal equivalent of a pictorial representation of wording in a design mark, and/or spellings that are similar or phonetically equivalent to wording in a word mark. The database contains text and images of marks in registrations and pending applications, including abandoned, canceled and expired records.

The USPTO may assign pseudo marks, as appropriate, to new applications to assist in searching the USPTO database for conflicting marks. Pseudo marks have no legal significance and will not appear on the registration certificate. The pseudo-mark entries in the USPTO databases allow likelihood of confusion searches for a particular word  or term to automatically retrieve phonetic equivalents or pictorial equivalents that have been appropriately pseudo-marked.

A pseudo mark may be assigned to marks that include words, numbers, compound words, symbols, or acronyms that can have alternative spellings or meanings. Pseudo-marks provide an additional search tool for locating marks that contain an intentionally-altered spelling of a normal English word or that contain the literal equivalent to a pictorial representation of the word in a design mark.

For example, if the mark comprises the words 'YOU ARE' surrounded by a design of a box, the pseudo mark field in the USPTO database would display the mark as 'YOU ARE SQUARE'. A mark filed as 'URGR8' would receive a pseudo mark of 'YOU ARE GREAT'.

Other examples: the pseudo mark for http://LaserJet.com is LASER JET; the pseudo mark for http://MarylandUniversity.edu is MARYLAND UNIVERSITY; and the pseudo mark for http://SmithLaw.net is SMITH LAW.


How do I fight a Pseudo Mark? A Notice of Pseudo Mark is not a refusal and there is no procedure for having one removed from a trademark application prosecution. But it also has no legal significance, the trademark examiner could refuse an application without the pseudo mark if there is a likelihood of confusion as to sound, sight or meaning. The applicant could then make the arguments about why there is no pseudo and no confusion. There is no law that says that the USPTO has to maintain a pseudo mark field, it is done for the convenience of the USPTO and to help those who use trademark searching to avoid likelihood of confusion refusals. See trademarksearchtips.com for help on trademark searching or TESS Help. Note: Trademarks containing unique or corrupt spellings of words may not be retrieved by  trademark searching due to odd letter combinations or spacing contained in a mark that may not be addressed by search strategies using TESS. Not Just Patents uses a proprietary database for trademark searching that uses proprietary software to look for phonetic matches, legal equivalents, and other similarities that direct hit searching misses.


WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH PSEUDO MARKS? WHY ARE PSEUDO MARKS AN ISSUE FOR TRADEMARKS?

Pseudo marks cannot be used to get around the finding that the terms used are merely descriptive or are conflicting marks. A novel spelling of a merely descriptive word or term is also merely descriptive if purchasers would perceive the different spelling as the equivalent of the descriptive word or term.  See In re Hercules Fasteners, Inc., 203 F.2d 753, 97 USPQ 355 (C.C.P.A. 1953) (holding “FASTIE,” phonetic spelling of “fast tie,” merely descriptive of tube sealing machines); Andrew J. McPartland, Inc. v. Montgomery Ward & Co., 164 F.2d 603, 76 USPQ 97 (C.C.P.A. 1947) (holding “KWIXTART,” phonetic spelling of “quick start,” merely descriptive of electric storage batteries); In re State Chem. Mfg. Co., 225 USPQ 687 (TTAB 1985) (holding “FOM,” phonetic equivalent spelling of “foam,” merely descriptive of foam rug shampoo); TMEP §1209.03(j).


Similarity in sound alone may be sufficient to support a finding of likelihood of confusion.  RE/MAX of America, Inc. v. Realty Mart, Inc., 207 USPQ 960, 964 (TTAB 1980); Molenaar, Inc. v. Happy Toys Inc., 188 USPQ 469 (TTAB 1975); In re Cresco Mfg. Co., 138 USPQ 401 (TTAB 1963); TMEP §1207.01(b)(iv). Slight differences in sound do not overcome overall similarity between marks, as slight differences in the sound of similar marks will not avoid a likelihood of confusion.  In re Energy Telecomm. & Electrical Ass’n, 222 USPQ 350 (TTAB 1983).



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Steps to a Patent    How to Patent An Invention

Filing Requirements for Patent Applications

Trademark e Search    Strong Trademark     Enforcing Trade Names

Common Law Trademarks  Trademark Goodwill  Abandoned Trademarks

Should I Get A Trademark or Patent?

Patentability Evaluation

Trademark Disclaimers   Trademark Dilution     Oppose or Cancel?

Examples of Disclaimers  Business Name Cease and Desist

Sample Patent, Trademark & Copyright Inventory Forms

Verify a Trademark  Be First To File   How to Trademark Search

37 CFR § 1.53 Application number, filing date, and completion of application

Using Slogans (Taglines), Model Numbers as Trademarks

Which format? When Should I  Use Standard Characters?

Difference between Provisional and Nonprovisional Patent Application

Opposition Pleadings    UDRP Elements    Loss of Trademark Rights

How To Answer A Trademark Cease and Desist Letter

Shop Rights  What is a Small or Micro Entity?

Trademark Refusals    Does not Function as a Mark Refusals

Converting Provisional to Nonprovisional Patent Application (or claiming benefit of)

Acceptable Specimen       Supplemental Register  $199 Statement of Use

How To Show Acquired Distinctiveness Under 2(f)

Patent Pending see also Patent Marking

Trademark Attorney for Overcoming Office Actions

Functional Trademarks   How to Trademark     Surname Refusal

Patent Drawings

Grounds for Opposition & Cancellation     Cease and Desist Letter


Valid/Invalid Use of Trademarks     Trademark Searching

How to Respond to Office Actions

What is a Compact Patent Prosecution?


Examples and General Rules for Likelihood of Confusion

USPTO Search Method for Likelihood of Confusion

Examples of Refusals for Likelihood of Confusion  DuPont Factors

Patent search-New invention

Color as Trade Dress  3D Marks as Trade Dress

Patent Search-Non-Obvious

Ornamental Refusal  Standard TTAB Protective Order

How to Keep A Trade Secret

Descriptive Trademarks Trademark2e.com  Likelihood of Confusion 2d

State & Federal Trade Secret Laws

Merely Descriptive Trademarks   Merely Descriptive Refusals

Chart of Patent vs. Trade Secret

Register a Trademark-Step by Step   Trademark Fixer

ID of Goods and Services see also Headings (list) of International Trademark Classes

Likelihood of confusion-Circuit Court tests

Pseudo Marks    How to Reply to Cease and Desist Letter

Geographically Descriptive or Deceptive

Overcome Merely Descriptive Refusal   Overcome Likelihood Confusion

What Does ‘Use in Commerce’ Mean?    SCAM Letters

Section 2(d) Refusals   ApplyToTrademark.com

Trademark Incontestability  TTAB Manual (TBMP)

Typical Brand Name Refusals  What is a Family of Marks?

TTAB/TBMP Discovery Conferences & Stipulations

TBMP 113 Service of TTAB Documents  TBMP 309 Standing

Trademark Steps Trademark Registration Answers TESS  

Trademark Searching Using TESS  Trademark Search Tips

TSDR Trademark Status and Document Retrieval

What are Dead or Abandoned Trademarks? Can I Use An Abandoned Trademark?  Can I Abandon a Trademark During An Opposition?

Published for Opposition see also Opposition Steps/Cancellation Steps

Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses

Differences between TEAS and TEAS plus  

How do I Know If Someone Has Filed for An Extension of Time to Oppose?

Protecting Trademark Rights (Common Law)

Steps in a Trademark Opposition Process

Zombie Trademark  Not Just Patents Often Represents the Underdog  

What Does Published for Opposition Mean?

What is the Difference between Principal & Supplemental Register? What If Someone Files An Opposition Against My Trademark?

Acquired Distinctiveness  2(f) or 2(f) in part

How to Respond Office Actions  DIY Overcoming Descriptive Refusals

Extension of Time to Oppose

Trademark Clearance Search   DIY Trademark Strategies


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