L.A. TECH & MEDIA LAW FIRM – Intellectual Property & Technology Law

Navigating the Trademark Maze: Overcoming the Likelihood of Confusion


In the intricate world of trademark protection for entrepreneurs and technology startups, securing a unique and distinctive mark is paramount. However, one of the most common challenges faced by applicants is the likelihood of confusion with an existing registered mark. Such similarities can lead to marketplace confusion, jeopardizing brand identities and consumer trust.

In this blog, we’ll delve deep into the concept of the likelihood of confusion, its implications, and the potential strategies to overcome this challenge.

Understanding the Likelihood of Confusion

The trademark likelihood of confusion arises when a proposed mark bears a close resemblance to a previously registered mark. This similarity can lead to potential confusion among consumers, making them believe that the products or services associated with these marks come from the same source.

When a U.S. Trademark Application faces the likelihood of confusion as a primary issue, it signifies a significant roadblock in the registration process. However, it’s not the end of the road. There are strategies and steps that applicants can consider to navigate this challenge.

Strategies to Overcome the Likelihood of Confusion

If your trademark application faces an Office Action due to the likelihood of confusion, consider the following options:

  1. File Arguments Against the Refusal: Present a strong case highlighting the distinctiveness of your mark and the differences that set it apart from the cited registration.
  2. Seek Written Consent: Approach the owner of the cited registration and obtain written consent for the registration of your mark. This can be a viable option if both parties believe that there’s no genuine risk of marketplace confusion.
  3. Cancellation of the Cited Registration: If the cited registration expires or if you believe there are valid legal grounds, you can initiate a cancellation proceeding against it in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). This strategy involves trying to cancel the cited registration based on various legal reasons.

The Gravity of the Situation

The likelihood of confusion is not just a minor hiccup. It’s a substantive refusal and a major challenge in the trademark registration process. Addressing this issue requires a careful and strategic approach. The stakes are high, as the outcome can determine the fate of your brand’s identity.

Seek Expert Guidance

Navigating the likelihood of confusion can be a daunting task. It’s a delicate balance between protecting your brand and ensuring you’re not infringing on another trademark. There might be valid arguments against the likelihood of confusion, but deciphering them requires expertise.

Hire David Nima, Esq. as your attorney to guide you through this intricate process. With his vast experience and deep understanding of trademark laws, you can confidently address the challenges and secure your brand’s protection.

For a comprehensive understanding of the likelihood of confusion and strategies to address it, refer to Chapter 3, “Trademark Conflict Checklist for Likelihood of Confusion,” in the book “Tip-Top Trademarks. Brand Protection Blueprint for Business.” And when you are ready, consult with an experienced technology startup and trademark attorney to discuss your trademark office actions.


The journey of trademark registration is filled with potential challenges, with the likelihood of confusion being one of the most significant. By understanding this challenge, seeking expert guidance, and adopting the right strategies, businesses can ensure their brand’s protection and carve a unique identity in the marketplace.

Picture of David N. Sharifi, Esq.
David N. Sharifi, Esq.

David N. Sharifi, Esq. is a Los Angeles based intellectual property attorney and technology startup consultant with focuses in entertainment law, emerging technologies, trademark protection, and “the internet of things”. David was recognized as one of the Top 30 Most Influential Attorneys in Digital Media and E-Commerce Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Office: Ph: 310-751-0181; david@latml.com.

Disclaimer: The content above 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 above does not create an attorney-client relationship. All trademarks are the property of L.A. Tech & Media Law Firm or their respective owners. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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