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Need advice from a trademark lawyer.

Los Angeles, CA |

Can anyone own the rights to the term online dating concierge. I noticed a lot of sites use this term. If I create a website that calls myself online dating concierge is there a problem with this? How do I know if there is a trademark issue?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. You could start with a TESS search at the trademark office site at www.uspto.gov. The tems are descriptive and thus any mark would be "weak". If you are talking about using those three words in a website for a company with another name, that would not appear to be a problem.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. To obtain trademark rights, a company must use an original mark in commerce and otherwise meet the United States Patent and Trademark Office guidelines or common law guidelines to trademark ownership. In this case, the term ONLINE DATING CONCIERGE may be deemed a weak or descriptive trademark, essentially throwing the term into public domain and available equally to online dating website and related products.

    However, if a company has made trademark use of the term, and/or has filed an application for this term, or a confusingly similar term, then you may be limited in your ability to use the mark due to risk of infringement. A trademark search and clearance report conducted by an attorney will help answer this question.

    There is another caveat to this which is, even if the mark is deemed merely descriptive, in some cases even a descriptive term can obtain strong trademark protection and even a registration if the trademark owner has made long term use of the mark in commerce with no opposition.

    The best strategy here would be to get expert opinion on the trademark prospects of this term as applied to your line of business, conduct a search to see for other use of the mark, and if all is clear, file an application for registration and enforce your trademark rights against competitors using the same or similar phrase.

    This content is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  3. Hi,

    In my opinion this would be deemed "generic" which is even beyond descriptive assuming you are offering online dating concierge services. Keep in mind, a trademark should be distinctive or what's the point? Let's say you were able to register this mark. How could a competitor decribe what they do if you have an exclusive right to this term under TM law? You would have to police it like crazy which cost a lot of money and no one does it for you.

    I will link you our "Test Your Trademark" feature below which may be helpful in explaining how to evaluate trademarks.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions moving forward.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. Feel free to call for a free phone consultation; your inquiries are always welcome: CONTACT: 866-871-8655 Support@LanternLegal.com DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.


  4. There is a problem, it is descriptive. The word "concierge" has some distinctiveness in this context, so you would want to search it's availability. The problem with descriptive marks is they are weak, so others can get pretty close. You probably cannot register this.
    In fact, the mark "dating concierge" was refused registration by the US Patent & Trademark Office two years ago for descriptiveness. The applicant from Chicago, gave up the attempt. The trademark examiner cited a bunch of documents to prove descriptiveness.
    http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn85011967&docId=OOA20100724094351
    You best pick another mark. And you should pick a trademark attorney and get this cleared as we won't knowingly do this for you for free again.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

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