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Written by : Scot Rydalch
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hi everyone I'm Eden Durham with 180 loco in Denver Colorado and you're watching all up in your business this episode we're gonna talk about trademarks and specifically what happens if you have a word from a foreign language in your trademark does that make a difference with trademark registration does it make a difference with trademark infringement how does that play into it if you've got a foreign word in your u.s. trademark registration so number one just off the bat yes you absolutely can register a trademark if it has a word or words earth it's completely made up of words from a different language it does not have to be English all English or even some English you can absolutely register a trademark if it's in a different language or has elements there any different language but how does that play into the application and registration process well it's interesting because pretty much the trademark office the USPTO they're gonna treat it as if it is the English equivalent of that word and in your application you have to specify if there are any English equivalents or translations in your trademark so if you do have a trademark that has one word let's say that's in Spanish you have to indicate on your application that the translation in English means X and the trademark office is going to evaluate your application and go through the process as if it was for the most part that English equivalent they're not really paying a whole lot of attention to the foreign word itself they're gonna focus more on its English translation you don't have to indicate it or be especially concerned about it if it's a very commonly used foreign word in the English language if it's in if it appears in the English dictionary you're usually not going to have to identify it in your application so some examples would be like like karaoke it's a Japanese word but we've adapted it to the English language and appears in our dictionary and so for all intents and purposes it's essentially an English word now for our use same with salsa salsa is a Spanish word but we use it every day in English for the most part and so that's something you don't have to identify or like rendezvous a fancy French term rendezvous but we use it in English so you don't have to worry about that but if it's something that's not a commonly used term in the English language it's best to identify it in your application and so as I mentioned that application is going to be evaluated and looked at as if it were in English for the most part so what this means is that there can still be issues there can still be a likelihood of confusion between your trademark which may be in Spanish and this other trademark which is in English but translated may mean the same thing or something similar so you can't avoid that likelihood of confusion issue just by changing a word or all of the words necessarily to some other language that by itself usually isn't really going to get around that because it's still going to be considered as if it were all in English now of course this is not a hard and fast rule there's no black and white - yes this one's in Spanish but it's the Spanish equivalent of this one and therefore it's a no-go that there's I mean really in trademarks there's no black and white rule there's all we're always floating in this fun little gray area with trademarks and it's never a very clear answer so you know in some instances having that word be translated having that word in a different language might be enough to avoid likelihood of confusion it depends on a million factors of how you're using it how the other person is using it and other unending amounts of factors but for the most part the general idea is treat it as if it is the English equivalent of whatever that word or phrase is because generally speaking that's how the USPTO is going to got it that's all for this episode thank you to those of you who submit questions and requests for topics this video is because someone requested it if there's a topic that you would like me to talk about or if you have a general question that you would like me to discuss please feel free to comment below if you're venturing into the wild world of trademarks and would like any assistance you can contact me you'll find my contact info in the description of this video thank you all so much for watching I'm Aiden Durham and I'll see you next time
Thanks for your comment Joi Paugh, have a nice day.
- Scot Rydalch, Staff Member
can I use a common word as a trademark that's a question I get a lot and I'm gonna spend the next three minutes talking about it I'm Angela Liang Lots trademark and copyright attorney and I go live here on weekdays to talk trademarks and copyrights so there seems to be this myth that one cannot use a common word as a trademark and that is just not true we do see all the time common words used as trademarks what's an example let's take a really well-known and famous one Apple Apple is a very famous trademark for computers and cellular phones and other computer peripherals and it is indeed a very common word one of the most common words in the English language so yes you can use a common word as a trademark but you have to make sure that you're not using it as a trademark or attempting to use it as a trademark for the goods that are named by the common word let me give you an example Apple is a great trademark for anything but apples right so if you have an apple cart or a an apple stand and you're selling apples yes indeed you may not use the trademark Apple for those goods and services why because if we allow you to have the exclusive use to use the word Apple with your business of selling apples then because the trademark gives you the exclusive right to use that term in conjunction with your goods or services if we allow you to get a trademark for Apple it would prevent anybody else who sells apples from saying that they have a store where they sell apples and that's not the per of trademarks the purpose of a trademark is to distinguish your goods and services from other people's goods and services and if what you're proposing to use is the trademark merely describes the goods or in the case of Apple for Apple selling only is a generic descriptor for the goods that you're selling we can't allow you to do that it's not distinctive so yes you can use an ordinary word as a trademark so long as it doesn't have anything to do with the ordinary word or the goods are not part of the selling of that ordinary word so yes go ahead use a trademark that's an ordinary word but just don't use it for that thing right so if you want to use Apple don't put it on apple's i'm angela lang lot's trademark and copyright attorney and i go live here on weekdays to talk trademarks and copyrights message me on my facebook page facebook.com forward slash trademark doctor with any trademark questions or copyright questions you can also find me online at trademark doctor net if you go to youtube and search trademark doctor you'll find a whole video library right there
Thanks tutuniuZ your participation is very much appreciated
- Scot Rydalch
About the author
I've studied natural language processing (computational linguistics) at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green and I am an expert in business law. I usually feel accepted. My previous job was computer software engineers I held this position for 22 years, I love talking about watch making and baseball. Huge fan of Emma Roberts I practice ultimate frisbee and collect cracker jack prizes.
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