• October 2018
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Does one need to trademark the singular or plural of a name they are also trademarking?

It’s up to you as to register your name in the singular or plural form as both should provide enough protection against infringement. As Will Montague stated, “likelihood of confusion” is the standard to use with any questions surrounding similar names. The plural versus singular form of a word is a prime example of something the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would find likely confuses the general public as to the product’s source.

I was able to find a relevant decision by the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board after doing a quick Google search. Here is some language showing the USPTO’s historical tendency to reject applications that simply make a name plural:

“We reject applicant’s argument because the plural form of the word does not change the meaning of the word ‘stone,’ and the mere pluralizing of a term is not sufficient to convert this unregistrable term into one that is registrable. Wilson v. Delaunay, 245 F.2d 877, 114 USPQ 339, 342 (CCPA 1957) (‘There is no material difference in the trademark sense between the singular and plural form of Serial No. 75/555,0988 the word ‘Zombie’ and they will therefore be regarded as the same mark’). In re Directional Marketing Corp., 204 USPQ 675, 677 (TTAB 1979) (addition of the letter ‘S’ did not overcome surname refusal); and In re Luis Caballero, S.A., 233 USPQ 355, 357 (TTAB 1984) (‘Nor does it matter that the subject matter of the application is a plural (or possessive) form of a name’).”

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