Skip to main content
Organic Trademarks


With all the rage about Organic products and services weighing on our minds recently, I thought it would be a good time to address how this applies to trademarks. While the label of a product or the website for a service may say ORGANIC, does this mean they really ARE organic? Well, the USPTO is taking issue with that as well with their clause on “Deceptive Matter”. Here’s what they have to say about it:

“[There] is an absolute bar to the registration of deceptive matter on either the Principal Register or the Supplemental Register. Neither a disclaimer of the deceptive matter nor a claim that it has acquired distinctiveness can obviate a refusal on the ground that the mark consists of or comprises deceptive matter.

A deceptive mark may be comprised of (ANY ONE of the following):

(1) a single deceptive term;

(2) a deceptive term embedded in a composite mark that includes additional non-deceptive wording and/or design elements;

(3) a term or a portion of a term that alludes to a deceptive quality, characteristic, function, composition, or use;

(4) the phonetic equivalent of a deceptive term; or

(5) the foreign equivalent of any of the above

In laymen’s terms what it means is that a mark may not contain the word ORGANIC, or any spelling or phonetic variation thereof, unless the product or service truly is ORGANIC by definition. ORGANIC can generally be defined as a product or service produced WITHOUT the use of chemical fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics or pesticides. Therefore, when a trademark name includes the word ORGANIC, the consumer naturally assumes it has conformed to the definition of the word. It is this assumption on the part of consumers that has prompted the USPTO to start handing out trademark refusals based on deceptiveness.

When an application comes across the desks at the USPTO that includes ORGANIC in the title, the applicant is required to state that the product or service is, in fact, Organic in nature. Here is an example of the USPTO’s response to one such application, which is now abandoned due to failure to respond:

“In this case, applicant’s mark includes the wording “ORGANIC,” which indicates that the goods contain organic ingredients. This feature or ingredient is important to a purchasing decision because consumers looking to purchase organic products will believe the applicant’s goods to be made from organic ingredients.

If the goods do not, in fact, contain organic ingredients, the applied-for mark will deceive the public as to an important factor in its purchasing decision...If the goods do contain organic ingredients, applicant can amend the identification of goods to state this fact, and the refusal will be withdrawn.”

Of course, there are many other situations in which USPTO would refuse a mark based on deceptive matter, but the use of ORGANIC as part of a name is just one example that is the basis for trademark refusal.

So, while consumers continue to see ORGANIC claimed on products and services more often, we can be assured that at least the USPTO is making steps to ensure we aren’t being deceived or misled while trying to make the conscious choice to go “green.”

- Mention our blog & receive $25 off of our Premium Package -
- Put BLOG in the Contact Name field -

Comments

jane said…
Hi Shannon,

I am a chef and a writer, and am almost finished with a rather unusual series of cookbooks. I am submitting proposals to five major publishers next week. The book titles are important. I have no experience in this field, but I sense it is very competitive. I have checked that the book titles I want are not currently in print, and I have purchased the web url's.

Is there a way I can protect these titles from being stolen by the publishers while they are reviewing my proposal? I don't intend to self-publish, so I didn't feel it was appropriate to register for a series of ISBN numbers.

Yet the titles are unprotected.

How can I reserve these titles before I send the proposals out?

Thank you for your kind response.


Thanks and best regards,

Jane
janebar108@live.com
vinothkumar said…
Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting. I tried to add your RSS to my feed reader and it a few. take a look at it, hopefully I can add you and follow.









Register my trademark
Great writing !! I have read above information and really very impress and learn several thing.

Thanks for sharing..

Popular posts from this blog

Trademark 101: State Trademark or Federal Trademark?

Now that you know what a trademark is, what a trademark isn’t, and that you should get a trademark, let’s explore if a State trademark or Federal trademark is most appropriate for your needs.
For the USA, trademarks can be obtained either at the State level or the Federal level. So, which do you need? I’ll explain both and that’ll give you a clearer picture as where to go from here.
First and foremost, a State trademark gives you trademark protection for that specific state whereas a Federal trademark gives you trademark protection nationwide. Simple enough, yes? But, which is the right trademark for your needs?
1)Are you actively in business? 2)Are you only doing business in one city or county or just statewide?
If you answered yes to both, then exploring a State trademark is your next step. Here are some advantages to a State trademark:
·The right to expand statewide. The name will be waiting for you in other metros. ·If another mark is infringing upon yours within the state, you’ll have a…

Trademark 101: Should You Trademark?

Now that we know what a trademark is and is not, let’s dive into the next logical question: should you trademark?
The easiest way to answer this question is to look at your business and your plans for it.
-Is the name, logo, or slogan an integral part of your business? -Are you doing business on a statewide or nationwide or international level? If you’re only doing business citywide or countywide, do you see potential for geographical growth? -Would another business in your industry using the same or similar name hurt your business? In other words, is it possible you’d lose customers if someone had the same or similar name in your industry?
If you answered yes to any of the above then exploring a trademark is the way to go.
Here’s what a US Federal trademark gives you:
·A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration (whereas a state registration only provides rights…

Trademark 101: What Isn’t a Trademark?

Yesterday’s post was all about what a trademark is so today we’re going to talk about what a trademark is not. Knowing both sides of that coin will give you a clear idea if a trademark is right for you or not.
Let’s use yesterday’s examples as a jumping off point:
·PEACE is the name of your new clothing line and your logo is the peace sign. Both of these things appear on the tags that are attached to the clothing items. You have a variety of designs and sayings that appear on the front of your clothing items, e.g. the front of a t-shirt.
·LOVE is the name of your daycare services. Your slogan, Love blooms here, appears on the web site, the brochures for new parents, the signage inside & outside of the facility. There are also multiple heart designs, created by you, used in your advertisements.
·HAPPINESS is the name you use for your invention, a new kind of food processor. You have stacks & stacks of technical documents explaining how your invention works and every page has the n…