As of January 2023, businesses operating globally continue to face challenges and difficulties in securing trademark protection in different countries. One of the most common issues businesses faces is the risk of trademark refusal. Trademark refusals can occur for various reasons, including similarity to existing trademarks, lack of distinctiveness, or being deemed offensive or contrary to public morality. The likelihood of trademark refusal and the specific reasons for refusal can vary from country to another.
On an international level, trademark offices were active in the beginning of the year and 15,875 refusals were issued.
Top 5 countries in issuing trademark refusals internationally
In the United States (US), the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a comprehensive trademark examination process that aims to ensure that trademarks are distinctive and do not infringe on the rights of others. However, trademark applications can still be refused if they are too similar to existing trademarks or if they are considered descriptive or generic. However, the United States ranked number 1 in issuing 3,363 trademark refusals in January 2023.
Canada (CA) ranked number 2 with 1,852 rejections. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has stringent requirements for trademark distinctiveness, and trademark applications can be refused if they are not considered to be registrable in Canada or if certain requirements in the application are missing.
In India, the Indian Trademark Office (ITO) has a comprehensive examination process, and trademark applications are often refused if they are too similar to existing trademarks or if they are considered descriptive or generic. The number of refusals issued this month was 1,034 rejections.
As for China and Republic of Korea they ranked respectively number 4 and 5 with 954 trademark refusals and 934 rejections in January 2023. This rate of refusals is due in part to the large volume of trademark applications being filed in China and Korea, as well as the strict criteria that the Chinese Trademark Office and Korean Intellectual Property Office apply when evaluating trademark applications. Read more