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Author Topic: Do I need to register multiple phrases that basically mean the same thing?  (Read 625 times)


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For example; if I have a car wash service and I want to protect the fact that we do not use any detergents and also assuming no other company offers this. Do I need to register multiple/separate phrases that mean the same thing to protect our service? Such as -

"Detergent free" car wash.
"No Detergent" car wash.
"Non-detergent" car wash.
"Car wash with no detergents"

Or would I be wise to register a name as "No Detergent Car Wash, LLC" and then apply for "Detergent Free Car Wash" to kill 2 birds with one stone?


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"The life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one."  Judge Giles Rich, Application of Ruschig, 379 F.2d 990.

Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.


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If your hypothetical examples are pretty close to what you want to do in real life, then I agree with MYK that these should not be properly registrable.

If that's the case, can you think up a more fanciful sounding name that conveys the meaning you want to get across, but is less likely to get smacked with a rejection as being merely descriptive of the services provided?

Here's an example of a registered mark where they did just that.  For a professional carpet cleaning service that does not use any detergents:


(as in "zero residue cleaning"). 

(added benefit, tagline: "Spell it forwards or backwards, it's the same either way").

Now, going back to your original question, there may be some confusion about how rights in trademarks exist and are registered.  You obtain rights in your trademark by using it in commerce.  You can register that mark on the federal register (assuming other legal conditions are met).

What you cannot do is register a whole bunch of marks that you are not using, merely to try to sequester them away from would be competitors - that is, TM protection does not permit you to protect the basic notion of what your business is or does (possibly, though, a patent could do so).  You can register the mark(s) you're actually using.

Again based on your example, you wouldn't use all 4 or 5 of those names as your business name, would you?

While you can't register a bunch of marks you're not using to withhold them from other's use, note that you do still have some protection in that you should be able to stop others from using marks that are similar enough to your mark that they cause confusion with the relevant purchasing public.


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