Have a trademark problem? click here

Attorneys and non-attorneys
turn to me (
non-attorney).

Here's why:

I help avoid and resolve
simple and complex
trademark problems.

Most trademark problems
are based on marketing
much more than on law.

Self-taught in law from
my own trademark problem,
and now many others,
I think differently than
most trademark lawyers.

30+ years marketing,
brand, product, service
naming experience.

30+ years following
market trends in
all industries.

30+ years assessing
trade customs and practices.

My approach resolves
problems faster and better.


Solutions based on
business fundamentals
and commerce and law.

Trademarks are brands,
brands are commerce.
Attorneys, knowing law,
often overlook commerce.

Most attorneys have little
or no marketing experience
(so they rely only on law).

If I don't know I learn.
I now know law plus
30+ years commerce.

I base solutions on
research,
investigation,
analysis,
(never boilerplate).

I help with
Trademark Application
Notice of Opposition,
Petition to Cancel,
Non-Final Office Action,
Final Office Action,
Appeal to TTAB,
Cease and Desist.

I help write and file
the Answer to and/or the
Notice of Opposition,
Petition for Cancellation.

I help write and file
Motions, Briefs,
Business letters.

I help write and file
reply brief to a final or
non-final office action.

I help write and respond to
Interrogatory and
Requests for Documents.

I help you with
research,
in-depth investigation,
findings and analysis,
winning strategy.

I work in the background
as a trademark consultant.


No retainer, no contract.

Pay as you go, online,
with Visa/MasterCard.

Safe secure online store.

I explain everything.

My writing is clear, concise.

I always investigate or
have you investigate.

With effort and tenacity,
I build strong argument.

I help avoid escalation.

I create and assess
every course of action.

I leave little room for surprise
(on our side).

I help by email worldwide.

I prefer all in writing, documented for review.

No phone calls required.

Attorney, non-Attorney,
you represent yourself
(or your client).

 


Trademark Help : Trademark Opposition, Cancellation, Answer

Trademark Opposition Questions and Answers - FAQs
Read this and you will understand trademark problems in a more clear way.


Rob Cummings, Trademark Consultant - Not an Attorney, a trademark and business problem solver,
he helps companies avoid losing their name in trademark opposition and petition for cancellation,

If you currently have a trademark problem click here.

What is trademark opposition and what does it mean?
By Rob Cummings

Not an attorney, I explain trademark problems and solutions in a manner attorneys can't, won't, may not be aware of, or don't have time or budgets for.

This article applies to an extension of time to oppose, trademark oppositions, trademark cancellations, trademark infringement law suits, as well as cease and desist letters leading to them.

8 very important things to understand about an Opposition or Cancellation:

  • Ignorance of trademark law or infringement is not an excuse

  • A trademark Opposition is a Federal Law Suit in a lower court (the TTAB)

  • The USPTO must treat those acting 'Pro Se' (on their own) the same as any qualified and experienced trademark Attorney

  • A trademark opposition can escalate to a Federal Law Suit and damages

  • Timeliness is extremely critical in an opposition (or cancellation)

  • If you don't own a trademark you could be sued in District Court

  • An opposition is usually based on likelihood of confusion

  • Prior to application and use it is presumed you cleared your trade name

A trademark opposition or cancellation, or Petition to Cancel means that a party wants you to stop using your brand, product, or service name - and can.

An opposition or cancellation, a very serious matter, can occur years after use of the name or trademark (Mark) or application for the Mark, is a law suit, and can lead to accusations and claims of infringement and monetary damages.

Opposition and cancellation have become more commonplace as brands cross geographic boundaries and/or the Internet and media increases brand awareness.

A trademark opposition and trademark cancellation often begin with a Notice of Opposition or a Petition to Cancel.

An opposition and a cancellation are essentially the same, the difference being an opposition is timely flied during the opposition period of an application, while a cancellation is filed after a trademark application becomes a trademark registration.

Of course the other difference is that in a trademark cancellation the mark may have been is use on goods or services for years.

If your trademark is registered circle , a Petition to Cancel means cancellation of your name and right to use it - just like an opposition - years later.

If you simply used a trademark and then applied for a trademark, you may be accused of infringement, and your use may cause a District Court law suit.

If you never applied for a trademark, then your trademark application or registration cannot be opposed since you have none, and instead the remedy for one claiming infringement is to file a law suit against you for use and damages from your use.

If you applied for a trademark, even though the trademark examiner reviewed and approved it, the mark is Published for Opposition so others may oppose, and opposition is becoming increasingly common and easier than ever before.

A good number of oppositions are actually triggered by trademark applications since prior to application potential Opposers were unaware of your Mark.

The more successful your business becomes, the greater the chances others will be aware of your brand name and oppose it (force you to stop using it - and demand you destroy or give everything to charity with that brand name on it).

A trademark is not a license, it's more like a 'permit' - and can be 'revoked' - by petition of others, often in your industry, yet just as often outside your industry.

The cost to file an opposition or cancellation is just $300 or so, plus legal fees. As you'll read below, brand owners must routinely oppose - and do.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

How often does trademark opposition and cancellation happen?

All the time. Oppositions, cancellations (name-based law suits) must be filed due to a combination of legal doctrines, routine practice, and IP budgets.

Any of these have to do with a law suit to take your brand name:

  • Notice of Opposition

  • Extension of Time to Oppose

  • Petition to Cancel, Petition for Cancellation, or Cancellation *

  • Cease and desist notice threatening legal action

* A Petition to Cancel is a trademark opposition after a trademark is registered, in simple terms.

One way or another, you're notified.

You're angry, worried, concerned about your business, and not sure how to handle the trademark opposition, cancellation, or other threatened legal action, or even exactly what it means.

You have about 40 days to reply to the Opposition or Cancellation with an Answer, yet may have never seen an Answer or thought about what an Answer is.

Or the cease and desist letter gives a time by which you must reply, often 10 days.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

Accused of infringement, opposed, or facing cancellation based on a name, all or some of your business is at risk.

The Opposer wants you to entirely stop using your name, and perhaps money damages for using it, and trademark opposition and cancellation can be a first step to a civil lawsuit - or a civil lawsuit can be the first step.

One of the safest trademarks is your own birth name, however, I've helped people that shared the very same birth name in trademark oppositions.

Why do trademark attorneys, brand managers, branding companies so often overlook trademark opposition and cancellation when selecting brand names?

If you don't know what to look for, you'll probably overlook it, which is why I provide trademark help to attorneys, brand managers, and individuals.

Even seasoned trademark attorneys have been attorneys all of their lives, and therefore know some things about naming and marketing yet often not enough.

Most people don't know what to look for in terms of similarity of marks or designs, weren't trained to think this way, it's not their job or assignment, in the process or method it was never properly addressed, other reasons.

However, the oversight made last year (or worse yet a decade ago) now has put your brand in real peril, and the chances the Complainant has an interest in entertaining an offer to buy your Mark are slim and quite rare.

Why won't the complainant simply buy my mark?

People don't sue or file an opposition or cancellation if they're interested in making a deal with you. If making an offer was their intent, they would send a polite letter instead, and make an offer.

If you received a notice as described in this article, it's not a an offer to negotiate, or at least certainly not to the extent you might first, perhaps logically, imagine.

You need advice and trademark help from someone that works both sides - the creative and the legal - though that type is nearly impossible to find.

I won my trademark opposition, resolved other problems, and can help with yours, as a business consultant, from life experience, and with an investigative approach.

I began helping individuals on their own (Pro Se), and now work in the background for individuals as well as attorneys and their clients.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

In simple terms... a trademark opposition is a law suit.

A trademark Opposition or Petition for Cancellation, like any other business problem, must be effectively dealt with until resolved.

A party intends to force you to stop using your brand name.

This means anything and everything with your brand name on it is at risk:

  • brand name, product name, service name (of course logo)

  • literature

  • domain name

  • packaging

  • signage

  • everything else with the opposed name on it

A trademark is a brand, the brand involves marketing, promotion, packaging, logos, fonts, colors, distribution and channels of trade, and other things only experienced marketing and creative directors know - and know better than many attorneys.

Most IP Attorneys rely upon what they know best, case law, however, business changes so fast that case law is often outdated, and rarely the best defense in a trademark opposition.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

Very few experienced IP attorneys understand branding, (the basis of trademark disputes) at the level required to win, and fewer ever bother to investigate the parties involved or the actual market specifics of the cases they work on.

Many push legal papers back and forth at great expense, and without ever making a strong case or even using common sense - as it relates to business.

The more you read, the more you'll see why an IP Attorney may not be your best course, at least initially - and also how you can hire an IP Attorney even after you answer Pro Se (on your own), or through your own business counsel - with help.

An Opposition is a law suit, in a court (Trademark Trial and Appeal Board or TTAB) that is lower than federal circuit court, (a lower court).

However, many trademark cases can escalate from the lower court to circuit court (a higher court), and then include monetary damages and other forms of 'relief'.

The argument chosen and presented in answer at the initial Opposition or Petition to Cancel stage, based on serious investigation, can have great bearing and effect on the costs and outcome of the balance of this law suit.

Similarly, your response to a cease and desist letter can have great bearing on how the other side chooses to proceed.

If you have not received an opposition or cease and desist, and are naming, we can choose the safest name, build the defense now, before its too late - once used.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

For the most part, oppositions are trials by paperwork, yet they are trials.

Trademark opposition and infringement law suits can take years. Though the shortest time frame is about 1 year, some last many years.

Trademark trials proceed fairly slowly with an exchange of documents and requests i.e. a Trial by Paperwork.

At key points, deepest assessment and very best judgment is critical, not only to win, but to avoid escalation and greater liability, including money damages.

Though there are certain similarities, each opposition must be assessed on its particular nature and merit - from legal, business, and marketing perspectives.

Boilerplate solutions increase chances of escalation, protraction (from a year to years), and create many liabilities and risks - including the risk of being sued for damages based on infringement...then potentially owing the petitioner $millions.

Trademark cases are going on all the time - lots of them - every day.

Trademark disputes rarely make the news - even though $millions is often at stake.

Trademark oppositions or cancellations are 'dull' for the most part, and companies about to lose their names prefer not to publicize.

As you'll read further below, due to the doctrine of acquiescence, brand owners must oppose other marks (registered or not).

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

Then there's the small budget/large budget problem:

Many oppositions escalate out of control (in time and money) as a result of quick boilerplate answers and oppositions - from reputable law firms - with small budgets.

Other oppositions and cancellations escalate $100,000 to $1million as a result of large budgets.

Intellectual Property (IP) and trademark law firms and practitioners make their money on hourly fees, leaving no direct incentive to expedite a resolution.

Often there's a budget for oppositions and IP matters, leaving even less of an incentive for trademark and IP attorneys to 'cut to the chase'.

Oppositions are often lost due to:

  • lack of consideration and thought

  • lack of research

  • misunderstanding of the real issues

  • poor judgment calls

  • ambiguous description in the initial trademark application

  • attorneys deciding not to answer and instead sue

  • people trying to save money up front

No opposition or complaint is harmless, and no opposition can be overlooked.

DO NOT TAKE CHANCES WITH YOUR OWN NAME.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

Please read more to gain a better basic understanding of what a trademark opposition is and/or then contact me for an initial review and consultation.

You do not need to have a trademark to have your company, product or service name at risk and/or to receive a cease and desist that may be enforceable. 

Trademark opposition is an aspect many businesses overlook, yet can have serious and costly consequences.

Quick links:

Basics of trademark oppositions:

What is a trademark opposition? 

In layman's terms, someone feels that if your application is allowed to proceed to a trademark registration -
or continue to be registered in a Petition to Cancel - your mark will cause them harm or damage.

Anyone can file a trademark opposition
or Petition to Cancel, even if they do not have a registered trademark.

A trademark opposition is a law suit, except you probably will not have to appear in Court, and likely there will be no direct monetary damages.

However, law suits based on oppositions can result in $millions in damages, which is the primary reason to take an opposition very seriously.

In many cases, the entire opposition is conducted with the exchange of papers.

You could think of most oppositions as a 'trial by paperwork'. Therefore, the papers, and the exact wording on them, is critically important.

Without trademark experience, you should never Answer an Opposition or Petition to Cancel without some help. Mistakes can be disastrous.

Read more...


Rob Cummings, Trademark Consultant. Not an Attorney, he had his own trademark problems, resolved them, and has been helping others ever since - attorneys and non-attorneys.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

What do the numbered paragraphs mean, why are they on the Opposition? 

Each numbered paragraph is known as an allegation or averment, and these are the basis for the trademark opposition.

To simplify in the most basic layman's terms:

  • the allegations are the 'charges'

  • you are the defendant

  • the opposer is the plaintiff or petitioner

  • your Answer is the arraignment

Never think of a trademark proceeding as "LA Law" or "Court TV".

The biggest mistake people make is assuming they understand trademarks and trademark concepts, however, many seasoned attorneys do not.

An attorney spent years in law school and may have in practice, yet real estate, divorce, tort, criminal, and even business law is most often much different than trademark law and related concepts.

Some end up here as a result of their own attempts, while others had attorneys, yet the attorneys either did not understand trademarks - or did not take the time to understand your brand and your trademark.

Others hired great IP Counsel, yet Counsel did not understand the nature of the opposition or cancellation in business terms and in its full scope and detail.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

What is an Answer to a Trademark Opposition?

The Answer is your response to the allegations or claims made in the Notice of Opposition (or Petition to Cancel).

Like an arraignment, though you may wish to reply with thousands of pages or 'argument' justifying why your mark should not be opposed, that is not appropriate in an Answer. However, you have some options in how you plead.

Assessing the issues and writing an effective Answer is not an easy task - even for a seasoned trademark Attorney.

How you Answer - meaning exactly what you write in your Answer and/or exactly what you leave out - is crucial.

As a layman, it's nearly impossible to guess. As an attorney, you must know the business, trade customs, background, history and more.

An artful Answer can be the basis for the strongest defense.

Weak answers can protract proceedings, and, in the worst case, escalate beyond the TTAB (Trademark Trial and Appeal Board) and into civil or federal court.

Many oppositions are boilerplate, and many (weak) Answers are as well.

An 'artful' Answer is not boilerplate.

A strong answer, where very careful consideration has been given to the entire case - from a legal and business perspective - becomes the foundation for everything that may follow - with defenses built into it.

Artful answers can nip problems in the bud, putting you on a firm foundation that can lead to winning an opposition from the very start.

Can I answer a trademark opposition on my own without an Attorney? 

Yes and no, and maybe - and probably not.

Unless you have truly studied trademarks and understand how opposition and cancellation relates to business, answering Pro Se (on your own) is difficult if not impossible, and can be very risky.

The reason that you should not answer entirely on your own is that you are not allowed certain types of argument, and it would be nearly impossible to understand the implications of your Answer, and what to write in the Answer - unless you have seriously studied intellectual property concepts, business, and the adversary.

Certain answers can be more harmful than helpful, and everything, written or oral, should be very carefully assessed since it becomes of record.

This is not to imply that you cannot act Pro Se and prevail, yet it does mean we should evaluate this very carefully - even if you have an Attorney.

Your Answer is critical to winning or losing the opposition, and/or having - or avoiding having - the opposition end up in civil or Federal Court.

An Opposition, in and of itself, does not include monetary damages, yet a law suit based upon an Opposition can. You could lose your mark, and be sued. 

Evaluating trademark problems from a broader perspective than most has proven to be very helpful - with or without Intellectual Property Counsel.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

What if I fail to Answer the trademark opposition? 

Failure to Answer a trademark opposition in a timely manner, currently - as of this writing - within 40 days from the date of mailing, can result in default, which ultimately means your trademark will not proceed to registration and, in this event, the Opposer wins.

The Opposer is a very large company. Should I be overly concerned?

Not necessarily. You should be responsive, however, whether the Opposer is large or small should not be a consideration, as long as you have grounds.

Why have I become the defendant?

You are the defendant since the plaintiff, the one alleging the damage your mark's registration could cause them, is the plaintiff or petitioner.

What should I do about a trademark opposition?

I recommend we begin to talk about this immediately.

In nearly every opposition, the filing of a timely and intelligent Answer is the best course of action.

Can this escalate to Civil or Federal Court?

I have seen some oppositions where counsel recommended not answering the Notice of Opposition, and instead filing a law suit.

In more than one opposition, this has led to a clouding of the initial issues, and over $500,000 in legal fees.

I have also seen what I feel to be premature attempts at settlement, and these also can be damaging if the issues are misunderstood.


Rob Cummings, Trademark Consultant, not an Attorney, helps avoid escalation.

Why is Civil or Federal Court the worst case scenario? Avoid Rule 56.

My objective is always to avoid Civil or Federal Court and, wherever possible, nip the problem in the bud - before it can escalate - as many cases do.

Judges at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board are like 'surgeons' in regards to trademarks and trademark-related concepts - while you might consider even the best Civil or Federal Judge as a 'General Practitioner' of law.

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Judges deal with intellectual property issues all the time, and have a much deeper understanding - while civil and Federal Judges may have only a very basic understanding of trademark, business law, and business customs and practices.

The civil judge may have last ruled on a divorce, property settlement, or other completely unrelated matter - just before ruling on your trademark.

The judges at the TTAB focus on IP (intellectual property matters) all the time, and understand advanced concepts in intellectual property rights.

Cases ruled upon at the TTAB have a far better chance of a positive outcome - at reduced cost.

A Motion for Summary Judgment under Rule 56 seems to be frequently used to take cases out of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (and the TTAB's expert judges and simpler, less costly 'trial by paperwork' procedures), and into Civil or Federal Court, and costly personal appearances by both parties and their counsel.

In addition, since the case is being heard by a civil judge (typically unfamiliar or at least far from being as familiar as a judge from the TTAB), the time and costs to prepare for a civil case are what drive the costs into the $millions.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

Often the choice is between a jury trial and a bench trial.

Once you learn more about trademarks, you will realize how time consuming and nearly impossible it might be to make a trademark case to a judge unaware of the ins and outs, or worse yet, a jury with no experience in trademark law, business law, or even basic business and trade concepts and practices.

A Rule 56 Motion for Summary Judgment causes suspension of the TTAB proceeding, since one case cannot continue if the outcome of another concurrent case shall effect it.

Therefore, a Rule 56 Motion for Summary Judgment, in a higher court (civil or federal), causes the Trademark Opposition or Trademark Cancellation proceeding to be suspended pending the outcome of the civil case.

You would think you could later remand the case back to the TTAB (wanting judges that know trademarks to hear it) yet, after having it heard in civil or Federal court, this seems to be the exception, not the rule.

To get to the higher court, the Motion for Summary Judgment based on Rule 56 usually includes new allegations that the TTAB cannot hear. These 'may be' trademark settlement agreements gone awry that turn into breach of agreement, and/or other issues.

Virtually all trademark oppositions and cancellations that escalate to civil court via Rule 56B Motion for Summary Judgment (that we have seen) have little or nothing to do with the initial opposition or cancellation - or its initial grounds or basis.

This is one reason I tell clients to be aware that anything they say or do could well end up in a court of law, and therefore to avoid settlement.

I have seen and orchestrated reasonable settlement agreements however timing is critical and early settlements are quite often very unreasonable and basically involve the defendant ceasing use of the Mark altogether - the same outcome as if the defendant lost the opposition or cancellation proceeding.

In all but the simplest cases I recommend answering the opposition or petition to cancel, and answering in a way that makes everything very clear to the other party, and then attempting settlement when the timing is strategically ideal.

If all else fails and you must proceed, any case that relies upon a trademark should first be resolved at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board - in front of its tribunal of expert trademark judges that handle trademark matters only, day in and day out.

Am I being singled out with the trademark opposition?

Not always. To maintain a trademark registration, a trademark owner/registrant must police its mark in order to maintain its rights in the mark.

Many trademark oppositions are simply the result of registrants attempting to avoid further trademark problems including being accused of acquiescence.

This does not mean that any trademark opposition should be viewed as frivolous, or that any trademark opposition need not be taken seriously. A trademark opposition is very serious, and can cause very serious problems.

Is the Opposer trying to put me out of business?

Not necessarily. See the paragraph above. Many Oppositions, especially at first glance, are (or may seem) unwarranted. Some are simply a matter of procedure where an effective Answer can resolve the problem.

In some, maybe most cases, the Opposer is trying to avoid acquiescence.

In layman's terms, acquiescence means not doing anything about a potentially damaging problem that you have been made aware of over a reasonably long period of time - i.e. acceptance without protest.

The Opposer needs to oppose to avoid acquiescence since acquiescence can severely limit the rights of the Opposer.

Though I find most oppositions are simply routine procedure to avoid acquiescence, they all have the potential to put you out of business, and/or suffer the consequences of having to change a brand, product, or business name you have built and developed good will and awareness of.

Like in any business matter, not just a trademark opposition, if you refuse or fight without a proper defense or proper legal 'Answer' to the allegations another is making, you could be liable for monetary damages.

Think of a trademark opposition as a business problem that will not likely go away and that must be dealt with effectively and efficiently - in the best possible manner - with serious thought, analysis, research, and deep consideration of options, contingencies, and alternatives depending on outcomes and scenarios.

You would take a 'slip and fall' allegation and potential suit for damages seriously.

A trademark opposition should be thought of the same way, since the outcome - after years of effort and great expense - can easily result in harm to your business.

Oppositions are often routine procedure, yet need to be taken just as seriously as any other legal business problem, like a 'slip and fall'.

If you received a letter that indicated someone was complaining they had a 'slip and fall' on the ice on your front steps, you wouldn't answer directly - or immediately - would likely consult an Attorney - and would more than likely investigate the situation thoroughly and thoughtfully before responding.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

Business management, unaware of trademark concepts or the consequences of a trademark opposition, may dismiss a Notice of Opposition, Petition to Cancel, even a cease and desist letter.

Treat an opposition/complaint like any legal business problem - seriously.


Rob Cummings, Trademark Consultant. Not an Attorney, he solves trademark and business problems with 30+ years of marketing and brand experience few  (if any) trademark attorneys have. Understanding branding (more so than law) is critical to understanding trademark disputes.

I strongly recommend you treat any trademark opposition - any cease and desist letter - or any complaint made against you or your business just as you would a 'slip and fall' law suit, or the threat of one.

Losing the name of your brand, product, or service can cause harm - and harm is the basis of nearly every Trademark Opposition Notice.

The opposing party is demanding you give up your name, and likely, since they filed a law suit, or threatened one, not willing to settle.

A trademark opposition can have grave consequences if answered improperly, or not answered altogether.

Unfortunately, like a serious 'slip and fall' complaint (or worse since there are often no damages awarded), the legal fees involved may be significant i.e. $10k-$20k just to retain an intellectual property Attorney - the best of whom seem to charge about $1000/hour. Even at $250/hour most qualified firms require a significant retainer.

Worse yet, you need an intellectual property or trademark Attorney, (not a 'general practitioner' Attorney), since trademark concepts are far different than even the best 'generalized practice' Attorney could imagine.

More trademark problem FAQs:

My mark is not even the same as the Opposer's yet it can be opposed?

Yes. Marks do not have to be identical to cause an opposition. For more information see factors related to likelihood of confusion >>

My mark was allowed by the trademark examiner yet it can be opposed?

Yes. After the trademark examination, your mark was Published for Opposition. The trademark examiner has reviewed your application and done the best he/she can to avoid opposition - and assess other issues - prior to allowing your mark to be Published for Opposition.

You have overcome many of the hurdles in the trademark examination process - except one of the last hurdles can be a trademark Opposition.

The reason your mark was published for opposition was to alert others of your pending trademark registration and allow them the opportunity to oppose it.

Should I attempt to settle before an Answer?

No. Rushing to settlement without an Answer is (we feel) rarely your best option.

If the opposer wanted to settle, they would not file an Opposition, which can be thought of the same as a law suit.

In nearly all cases, I feel that you should provide a timely Answer. Failure to provide an Answer can result in default. In addition, if you have grounds, there is no reason for settlement and we should be able to Answer effectively.

You should know that trademark law and concepts can be quite different than civil law, and that there are 'gray areas' involving trademarks and intellectual property that most would not be immediately aware of. Other concepts are entirely contrary to what you may think you know from 'ordinary' law.

I have often seen what I feel to be obvious defenses and solutions overlooked, as well as a number of apparent errors in judgment.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

Should I attempt to settle after an Answer?

No, maybe, definitively not. I recommend not attempting any settlement on your own. Without realizing larger issues and concepts, you may make statements that are contrary to your position.

Anything you say can and will be used against you. Since an opposition is a law suit, no opposition is truly 'friendly'.

You may offer settlement concepts that seem logical to you, yet an adversary cannot accept - for trademark reasons you simply cannot realize.

You should know that a settlement will likely suspend your case - which is not always the best solution - and can easily do more harm than good.



Rob Cummings, Trademark Consultant - Not an Attorney, a trademark and business problem solver.

What should I do about this Notice of Opposition or Cancellation?

Talk to a trademark attorney and then let me review the specifics, provide some explanation and analysis, and report back to you.

I always recommend you seek the opinion of qualified legal counsel - whether or not we become involved in helping you - and whether or not you choose to be represented, or act Pro Se (on your own).

These seemingly simple issues are almost always far more complicated than they appear - which we will explain.

Is it really possible to set a budget for this procedure?

If you set a budget with counsel that counsel cannot exceed, you may be unknowingly hurting yourself since counsel will only do what is in the budget.

On the other hand, few can afford $500K to over a $Million just to keep a company, brand or product name.

However, oppositions happen and seemingly will continue to. I do not foresee any legislation or changes that could eliminate trademark oppositions or cancellations.

The trademark process, and having marks published for opposition, and being allowed to be cancelled by others for good cause, when all is considered, is most often fair and fairly reasonable - once you understand it.

Learning the hard way, yet spending the time and effort to win, I now view Trademark Oppositions as simply another potential business liability.

I also have come to recognize that there are so many variables in a trademark objection that there is no way to set a budget unless you have a working crystal ball. You can simply never know what the other side will do that increases costs, and while there are some 'jumping off' points, mainly you have to stick to the procedures or face losing your Mark.

Even if you are just a start up, there's nothing more important than your trade or brand name, being allowed to continue to use it, and doing everything to maintain your mark and your rights in it.

If you're in business, the potential for a trademark opposition or even a Petition to Cancel is always a potential liability.

If you are having a trademark problem, get started now >>

Where I fit in: Not an Attorney - yet helping with or without counsel.

In nearly every trademark opposition I have reviewed, I found that we could save a great deal in time, money, aggravation, and delay - and often have discovered options and opportunities that legal counsel overlooked.

In many cases, I also identify trademark uses that put the mark at risk.

My approach combines legal and business concepts to develop best solutions.

Legal Counsel seems ideal for the granular - and sometimes boilerplate - yet often, in my experience, overlooks defenses, argument, and solutions that are legal yet 'outside the legal box'.

Many attorneys do not have the time, or the business acumen, even though they may be exceptional 'in the box' of trademark practice.

I help recognize, develop and assess solutions designed to avoid protracting cases from the very start - in the Answer - and this is the answer to avoiding escalation. 

Unlike many Attorneys, I explain everything to you.

I help step by step, explaining every step of the way.

In the process, you will gain a much greater appreciation and understanding of trademarks, trademark law, and how to avoid trademark problems in the future.

A strong thoroughly assessed non-boilerplate Answer - where the Answer to the Opposition is the best and most solid it can be - by looking at the entire issue, researching the opposer,  assessing every option, and taking everything into consideration - is the first step to winning a trademark opposition.

A brilliant Answer takes time and effort, yet the alternative may be losing your trademark, harm to your business, and/or a long, protracted case.


Understanding branding (more than law) is critical to trademark disputes.

Based on branding and marketing principles, trade customs, and other things I know very well from 30+ years following market trends, my methods have been extremely effective for non-Attorneys (Pro Se) as well as Attorneys that contact me to help in simple and highly complex trademark-related brand problems.

Self taught in trademark law, yet an avid reader, it all clicked in my mind when I immersed himself in and resolved my own trademark problems.

The goal is to nip trademark problems in the bud, with an extremely effective Answer and/or other documents that resolve problems rather than create new ones, or protract existing ones.

To me, it's all about time spent up front to reduce time and expense later.

One of the prevailing strategies is to financially drain the other party. I do my very best to turn that around - without boilerplate that almost always protracts.

What works best is compelling argument from a branding, marketing, commerce, and investigative perspective - and that's what I do - for attorneys and individuals.




/rob cummings/

Please note that I am not an attorney, therefore my services may augment yet are not intended as a substitute for advice from a knowledgeable lawyer licensed to practice trademark law.

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