USPTO Review – Translating Portions of a Brand

Scattered puzzle pieces next to solved fragment

Richard Rimer

March 1, 2022

Trademark applications complete a process known as prosecution before they become registered.  The first step is a review by the USPTO to ensure the application meets certain requirements.  I have prosecuted and managed thousands of applications in my career.

One item the USPTO must check is whether any or all terms in the brand are foreign words that would be translated by buyers.  If so, they then request that you insert the translated words in the record.  These requests are often reasonable, but you should carefully consider the impact of the results.

Billy wanted to protect his brand Ikariso Ikons.  The USPTO noted that “Ikariso” means tavern in Kinyarwanda, and requested that we translate this term.  I knew that we would then need to disclaim exclusive rights to this unusual term, so I argued that none of the prospective buyers spoke Kinyarwanda.  They would see this as a fanciful word.

Your most recent client had an interesting business name.  Ask her why she chose it, then make a 3-way introduction with me.