Conquering the Challenges of international Trademark Refusals

As of January 2023, businesses operating globally continue to face challenges and difficulties in securing trademark protection in different countries. One of the most common issues businesses faces is the risk of trademark refusal. Trademark refusals can occur for various reasons, including similarity to existing trademarks, lack of distinctiveness, or being deemed offensive or contrary to public morality. The likelihood of trademark refusal and the specific reasons for refusal can vary from country to another.

On an international level, trademark offices were active in the beginning of the year and 15,875 refusals were issued.

Top 5 countries in issuing trademark refusals internationally

In the United States (US), the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a comprehensive trademark examination process that aims to ensure that trademarks are distinctive and do not infringe on the rights of others. However, trademark applications can still be refused if they are too similar to existing trademarks or if they are considered descriptive or generic. However, the United States ranked number 1 in issuing 3,363 trademark refusals in January 2023.

Canada (CA) ranked number 2 with 1,852 rejections. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has stringent requirements for trademark distinctiveness, and trademark applications can be refused if they are not considered to be registrable in Canada or if certain requirements in the application are missing.

In India, the Indian Trademark Office (ITO) has a comprehensive examination process, and trademark applications are often refused if they are too similar to existing trademarks or if they are considered descriptive or generic. The number of refusals issued this month was 1,034 rejections.

As for China and Republic of Korea they ranked respectively number 4 and 5 with 954 trademark refusals and 934 rejections in January 2023. This rate of refusals is due in part to the large volume of trademark applications being filed in China and Korea, as well as the strict criteria that the Chinese Trademark Office  and Korean Intellectual Property Office apply when evaluating trademark applications.

Trademark Refusals in Arab countries

In comparison, the trademark examination process in Arab countries can be less stringent and the standards for trademark distinctiveness are lower. For example, in some Arab countries, trademark applications can be registered without a comprehensive examination process. However, it is important to note that the specific requirements and standards for trademark protection can vary from country to country.

The Egyptian (EG) trademark office has issued 57 refusal this month which is a remarkable number and highlights the importance of careful consideration when submitting trademark applications. We anticipate that it will continue to rise when the Egyptian trademark office begins the remodeling and restructuring process within Egypt, after the decree that passed to set up the Intellectual property authority.

 This trend is not unique to Egypt (EG), as other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have also seen a light increase in trademark refusals.

Algeria (DZ) has seen 38 rejections, Oman (OM) came with16 refusals divided between 9 relative,6 office action and 1 absolute, Morocco (MA) issued 15 refusals divided between 10 relative, 3 absolute and 2 oppositions, and Sudan (SD) 10 rejections. These numbers demonstrate the need for businesses to be proactive in ensuring that the trademark application process is done accurately and thoroughly, to avoid refusals and delays in the expansion of their brand.

Navigating Regional Differences in Refusal Standards

 The reasons for trademark refusals in the mentioned countries vary, but some common causes include conflicting trademarks, lack of distinctiveness, deceptive trademarks, and prohibited trademarks. It is crucial for businesses to be aware of these reasons and to address any potential issues before submitting their trademark application.

The Importance of Working with a Trademark Expert

It is important to note that the laws and regulations surrounding trademark protection and registration can be complex and constantly evolving. It is recommended to seek the advice of a specialist in the field for the most up-to-date and accurate information. That’s why AlYafi IP Group is here to guide you with trademark refusals issued by the Bahrain trademark office, Egypt trademark office, Oman trademark officeUnited Arab Emirates trademark office, Morocco trademark office, Algeria trademark office, and Tunisia trademark office.

Key Considerations for Moving Forward After a Refusal

International trademark refusals can be challenging for your business, as they can delay or prevent the expansion of your brand into new markets. However, it is important to note that trademark refusals are not necessarily final, and you may be able to appeal the decision raised by the trademark office and by seeking professional assistance from trademark expert. By taking proactive measures to protect your trademarks, you can ensure the success of your brand internationally.

In conclusion, international trademark refusals can have a significant impact on a company's ability to protect its brand globally. If an international trademark application is refused, it is important to understand the reasons for the refusal and there is hope for those whose trademark applications have been rejected in a foreign country, as there is often the option to appeal the decision.

For further information or assistance feel free to reach out to us at