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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

JD: Looking to start a brand, but there’s a trademark pending for the version that uses the word “and.” Can we still use a name with an ampersand?

Matt: No, let’s just assume for a minute that it’s the exact same brand, you know, “and” versus the ampersand. And it’s the same product or service, right? In that case, the answer is absolutely not unless you have a better first use date, in which we should talk. But generally speaking, no. However, there are exceptions. You could have a better first use date, in which case, we could challenge the pending trademark application with an opposition at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Or potentially, it’s in a different class of services or products entirely, in which case, yeah, let’s go ahead and file it.

JD: Okay,

Matt: So talk to your trusted trademark attorney for a more definitive answer.

JD: And Matt, you are a trademark attorney, right?

Matt: I am, and I didn’t say definitive. I said mostly is definitive.

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