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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

I’m in the USA, starting a new business, and I think the name I want to use is very similar to an already registered mark. I’m curious if those who know could weigh in on the name I want to use. Please note this is not the actual business name, but these names would demonstrate a similarity. The current registered name is “Slap Your Mama,” and the name I want to use is “Slap My Mama,” both for the same products. Let’s see if we’ve got the rest… That’s gonna be a no. The USPTO is going to shoot that down instantly.

Okay, so just versus my… It doesn’t really have that much trademark significance, right? You know, “my” or “your,” whatever, right? “Slap” and “Mama” are kind of the two most important words; they come at the beginning and at the end. Everything in the middle is kind of fluff. It’s gonna say the trademarks are similar in sight, sound, and meaning, and they also have identical products or services. So, when you have both of those that’s similar, you’re going to get denied. If you have one that’s almost exact but the other’s very different, then you likely get through the process, and vice versa. But if they’re both similar, you always have to have one of those. How similar are the names? How similar are the services or products, right? So that was sight, sound, and meaning. That’s kind of the trilogy we talk about when it comes to how similar the brands are to each other. You know, are they similar in sight, sound, or meaning, and then how similar are the products and services? Are they in the same class of services and products, right? Are they different? Are they related? So like, for example, you know, I imagine this is probably an apparel company, so “Slap Your Mama,” “Slap My Mama.” Yeah, they’re similar, but what if one of them was a jewelry company and the other’s an apparel company? Well, you’d say, “Well, they’re not the same class,” you know, jewelry is different than apparel. But at the USPTO, they’re all basically the same for likelihood of confusion analysis purposes.

So, you know, that’s something that clients need to be aware of, just because it’s not the same class doesn’t mean you can’t be denied by an existing registration or application. Got it. And even if the first one, in your example, clothing versus jewelry, didn’t even list jewelry, you’re still going to be too close. From, uh, still too close because, you know, the US PTO has found that consumers recognize the providers of jewelry also typically sell apparel and vice versa.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at