Correctable Errors in Trademark Owner Names

You’ve acquired a new trademark portfolio. Hooray! But wait … as you’re sorting through the marks you’re now handling, you notice some errors and inconsistencies in the owners’ information.

Don’t despair just yet.

You may be able to correct these mistakes by asking the PTO to amend the applications or registrations.

What we mean is that if a trademark owner incorrectly identifies itself, it might be possible to correct the error through an amendment. A quick note: here, we’re only talking about inadvertent errors made by the mark owner in good faith.

Some examples of errors that can be corrected by amendment include:

  • Mistakenly adding or omitting an immaterial word from a name.

EXAMPLE: The mark owner called itself “ABC, Inc.” instead of “The ABC, Inc.”

  • Naming a company that is not a legal entity – or that did not legally exist when the application was filed – as the mark owner.

EXAMPLE A: The mark owner used its D/B/A, which is not a legal entity.

EXAMPLE B: The mark owner called itself ABC, Inc. when its actual name is ABC, LLC – as long as ABC, Inc. did not exist on the application filing date.

  • Accidentally using a former name.
  • Using a name or entity type inconsistently in an application.

The bad news is that it generally won’t be possible to ask the PTO to substitute an entirely different entity as the mark owner. For instance, if an application was filed in the name of ABC, Inc. when it was actually owned by an existing company called DEF, Inc., you probably won’t be able to correct the error by simply filing an amendment. (And in certain situations – although we hate to say it – it may not be possible to fix the error at all.)

Here’s hoping that any mistake you encounter is of the “correctable” variety!

This entry was posted in Trademark Portfolio Management, Trademark Prosecution, USPTO Tips and Tricks.
Kelly Horein

About Kelly Horein

Kelly M. Horein is an associate on the Trademarks team of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. Kelly’s practice encompasses all aspects of brand management, including domestic and international trademark clearance, registration, and enforcement. When litigation is necessary, Kelly assists clients with disputes, including trademark opposition and cancellation proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and trademark litigation in federal court. In addition, Kelly prepares and negotiates intellectual property agreements, counsels businesses on website development and social media issues, and assists them with assessing product packaging for compliance.