Flying under the radar – secrecy in US trademark filings

By Susan Okin Goldsmith and Scott Smedresman

The US Patent and Trademark Office’s publicly available trademark database can make it extremely challenging to maintain secrecy over new products or name changes. However, rights holders can take certain steps to keep future plans confidential

Are you concerned about giving away information to a competitor about that new product you are bringing to market? Or are you the target of journalistic snooping or public curiosity about your company’s plans? If any of these apply, then the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) user-friendly trademark database could be your worst enemy. US law requires that the actual trademark owner apply to register and that it use – or have a bona fide intent to use – the mark in commerce on the specified goods. How then can you be stealthy about your plans without imperilling your eventual registration or alerting the media or competitors?

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