When to translate your trademark in an application

Translations of trademarks in a non-English language matter in trademark applications before the USPTO. A non-English mark which may be understood by American consumers needs to be translated in the trademark application. Perhaps more importantly, even if the mark seems to be a non-English language, the application needs to clearly state that that mark in fact has no meaning in a foreign language.

The USPTO typically requests for a translation of the mark if the examining attorney thinks that the mark might be a non-English word. This may be because the word follows a structure that may seem like a foreign language, even if it in fact not a real word. For example, SCHLOGBOATAUFT might seem German to an examiner because of its letter structure, and that examiner would ask you to translate it in your application. In this case, the example is not an actual German word at all. But since it seems like it may be seen as a German word by a USPTO examiner, I would indicate that this mark in fact has no meaning. This can be done in the section of the trademark application called “Additional Statements”, one of the first steps of the application (you would need to click a link to access it from within the application).

If you are making your own word up to be your brand name, I would at least use Google Translate to help rule out possible foreign meanings when applying for a trademark registration.

Also keep in mind that this translation issue must be dealt with in your initial application in order to preserve TEAS PLUS application status (essentially a $100 discount from the full price of an application) if you filed the application as a TEAS PLUS application. If you do not address it and the examining attorney issues an office action to clarify the translation issue, you may be required to pay an extra fee if you made a TEAS PLUS application.

Ultimately, only the translation issue has been discussed here and there are other issues which may affect your trademark application. This is something a trademark attorney can help you with before you apply, and just one of the many ways that an experience attorney can actually help you cut costs and save time when you’re developing and protecting your brand.

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