Well Known Mark

What does Well Known Mark mean?

A well-known mark is a trademark that receives protection by the United States Patent and Trademark Office because of its famous nature rather than because it has been formally registered with the office. In such cases, if a party attempts to register a mark that the Patent and Trademark Office deems to infringe on a mark that is well known, the office will not register the mark, even if the well-known mark is not registered.

Infringement in the case of a well-known mark is essentially if the Patent and Trademark Office believes the registration is likely to cause confusion or deceive the public about the mark. The factors the office considers include the similarity of the mark being reviewed to the well-known mark, if the goods or services are in the same industry as those of the well-known mark, how well the well-known mark is at identifying those specific goods and services, and how and why the party attempting to register the mark selected that mark.

A well-known mark takes precedence over the priority right to a mark. If a party is the first to attempt to register a mark, it would normally give that party priority to use the mark. However, if another party has already established the mark in a well-known manner in the eyes of the public, the Patent and Trademark Office will not allow the party to continue with registration of the mark.

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