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…

Beware of Official-y Correspondence

Once you get that trademark filed be aware that your information is of public record, which means, unfortunately, some will mine that resource & some of those folks will send you solicitations. 
These solicitations often look very official, and "may use names that resemble the USPTO name, including, for example, one or more of the terms "United States," “U.S.,” "Trademark," "Patent," "Registration," "Office," or "Agency."  
Some will even have documents that resemble actual government documents rather than what you'd expect a company to send and this is often done by "emphasizing official government data like the USPTO application serial number, the registration number, the International Class(es), filing dates, and other information that is publicly available from USPTO records."
Most of these are asking you for money. That's your major warning flag.
"All official correspondence will be from the …

$50 Discount: Ends Wednesday, July 20th - Mention the Blog When Ordering

$50 DISCOUNT! Exclusively for you Comprehensive Research & Analysis: Federal/State Trademark & Common-Law Federal Trademark Application Order by Wednesday, July 20! 800-776-0530

So, you finally settled on the perfect name for your product or service – that's fantastic! Finding just the right name is vitally important to the success of any product line or service.
Or, perhaps, we've already searched & filed a trademark for you. If it's been a couple of years, have you had protective research conducted? Do you have a logo or a slogan or a new product/service name?
Regardless if you're new to the world of trademarks or have already gone 'round once, let's walk through a quick primer. Protecting your brand is a vital part of your overall business plan.
Trademark Step-by-Step Primer
1) Is it required that I register my trademark?
No, not at all. However, registering your trademark, specifically your Federal trademark, does provide you with several advantages:
* Pu…