Trademark Basics
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AAUSee amendment to allege use
ABAAmerican Bar Association
abandonmentA mark is considered abandoned when its use in commerce has been discontinued with intent not to resume such use. Duration of non-use depends on the individual country or jurisdiction.
Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services ManualManual published by the USPTO containing non-exhaustive listing of examples of descriptions of goods and services that are acceptable for use in trademark applications. Meant to serve as a guide for examining attorneys in examining applications, and for the public in preparing applications.
ACPASee Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act
acquiescenceFailure to take action against infringing parties, or other actions indicating either implicitly or explicitly that nothing will be done about infringing activities. Can lead to loss of trademark rights.
acquired distinctivenessA mark that is not inherently distinctive (for example, those that are merely descriptive, surnames, or geographic indicators) may nevertheless become capable of serving as a trademark by becoming associated in the mind of the relevant public with a particular source of goods and services as a result of extensive advertising and widespread use in commerce. See secondary meaning.
actual confusionWhen a consumer is in fact confused as to the source of goods or services because of similarity between two marks.
ADRSee alternative dispute resolution
aesthetic functionalityAspect of the functionality doctrine. Product or packaging features that are not purely utilitarian, but are aesthetically pleasing and are an important ingredient in the commercial success of a product, may be considered de jure functional and therefore not eligible for trade dress or trademark protection.
affixationPlacement of a mark on the goods identified by the mark, on packaging for the goods, or on signs, displays, invoices or other objects pertaining to the services identified by the mark.
AIPLAAmerican Intellectual Property Law Association
AIPPIAssociation Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Industrielle.
alternative dispute resolution (ADR)Utilizing processes (i.e., mediation and arbitration) to resolve disputes outside traditional litigation channels.
ambush marketingAdvertising strategy in which a company associates its mark with an event without being an official sponsor of the event. Such advertising may take place inside the event itself, in the event's surroundings, or simply with indirect reference to the event.
amendmentRevision or change to an application or registration.
amendment to allege use (AAU)Attestation that the mark that is the subject of an intent-to-use (ITU) application has been used in interstate commerce, filed before the USPTO has issued a notice of publication.
Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA)A 1999 amendment to the United States' Lanham Act providing a cause of action against cybersquatters, i.e., those who register others’ trademarks as domain names with bad-faith intent to profit.
anti-dilution statutesState and federal laws that enable the owner of a famous mark to prevent third-party uses of the mark that might tarnish the mark or blur its distinctiveness. See Federal Trademark Dilution Act.
anti-dissection rulePrinciple that marks being analyzed for likelihood of confusion should be compared as a whole, i.e., the examiner should not compare separate parts of the respective marks in isolation.
AOSee appellation of origin
apostilleStandard form established by the Hague Convention to certify the authenticity of documents.
appellation of originName of a country, city, or other location that is known as a source of products with certain characteristics caused by the geographic conditions of that location (e.g., “Champagne” for sparkling wines).
applicantA person or a company that applies to register a mark.
applicationFormal request to register a mark at a trademark office.
arbitrary markAn existing word used as a mark for goods or services with which it has no direct or established relationship (e.g., APPLE for computers and TIDE for detergent).
arbitrationA form of alternative dispute resolution wherein a dispute is referred to one or more impartial referees, agreed to by the parties, for adjudication. Arbitration may be binding or non-binding depending on what has been agreed upon by the parties.
ARIPOAfrican Regional Intellectual Property Organization
ASIPIAsociación Interamericana de la Propriedade Intelectual (Associação Interamericana da Propriedade Intelectual; Interamerican Association of Intellectual Property).  An international association of intellectual property professionals.
assignmentLegal transfer of the ownership of property, including a mark, and all interests in it from the owner (“assignor”) to a third party (“assignee”). See assignment in gross; naked assignment.
assignment in grossAssignment of a mark without a transfer of the mark’s accompanying goodwill. Such an assignment is considered invalid and results in loss of trademark rights. See naked assignment.
associated marksIn certain countries, all marks owned by a single owner that are similar; must be transferred together to the same new proprietor in order to avoid confusion by the public.
attorney feesPossible component of damages in a court action.
availability searchReview of existing marks owned by others (registered or not) to determine whether adoption and use of a trademark might pose a risk of infringement liability, and whether the mark may be registrable. Can be either preliminary (“screening” or “knockout” search) or comprehensive (“full”). See clearance search.