It is vital for brands to protect their trademark from pre-exposure in today’s business world. Recent technological advancements and the rise of sophisticated internet users make it an essential business strategy. Below, we take a comprehensive look at why the tactic of concealing a trademark application is beneficial.
What is a trademark?
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the word trademark refers to a word, design, symbol, or phrase that defines goods or services. It is likely how consumers differentiate a product from those of competitors. However, a trademark also protects a company from economic rivalries.
Any individual or business entity can file a trademark application. It is an integral part of protecting intellectual property. Equally, applying for a trademark emphasizes the business’s marketability.
Concealing trademark applications
Competitive businesses are always on the lookout for the next big thing to hit the market within their industry. Therefore, companies who wish to mask their newest creations face unique challenges, making it vital for these companies to look for more sophisticated ways of submitting trademark applications.
The launch of the iPhone 14 is a recent example of trademark concealment done right. It included distinctive upgrades, including the interactive touch bar on the top of the screen known as Dynamic Island. The Dynamic Island trademark submission stayed a secret until the time of launch, which seemed almost impossible considering it was a highly anticipated addition to the iPhone world.
Big brands are adopting the concept of concealing trademark applications in an effort to prevent pre-exposure. It gives them the anonymity they need while waiting for trademark registration. Some companies go a step further by using foreign priority rights to ensure the trademark filing process remains undisclosed.
The Trademark Act includes section 44(d) that ensures an application isn’t displayed in the Trademark Search System when it is filed in a foreign country with no online database available to the public. An individual would have to physically go to that country to view the application. Therefore, it gives companies more anonymity until they are ready to launch their product.
It’s important to note that section 44(d) only provides six months of secrecy. After that, the trademark is officially released to public records.