Assume a trademark filed with the USPTO uses the language

"software used to calculate PI, the square root of PI, and the cosine of PI"

in its description of goods and services.

Can another, subsequent, unrelated, trademark applicant to the USPTO use this exact same language in its goods and services description?

If yes, why?

If not, is the grievance with:

a) the USPTO, because directly copying goods and services language is forbidden, and/or

b) the original trademark holder, because the trademark goods and services description is the intellectual property of that original trademark holder

3 Answers 3


Of course another applicant can use that language. What they can't do is register the same trademark for the same goods or services.

If the goods or services protected by a trademark were required to be unique, there'd be no point in having trademarks. Instead, we would have state-sanctioned monopolies.

To put it another way, the point of a trademark is to identify the commercial source of particular goods or services. Suppose you sell oranges under the trademark-protected name "Jerzy's oranges," with a goods and services description reading "the sale of oranges." Your registration does not prohibit others from selling oranges; it prohibits them from selling oranges using your name. Any competitor can register a unique trademark to use in the sale of oranges, however, with an identical goods and services description of "the sale of oranges."


The trademark protects the "logo" used in the trademark. It does not (necessarily) protect the "description of its goods and services" (unless it is unique in its own right).

A description such as "software used to calculate PI, the square root of PI, and the cosine of PI" is pretty generic, and cannot be protected by either copyright or trademark. What can be protected is the original design/artwork, that went into the trademark itself.


if the description "software used to calculate PI, the square root of PI, and the cosine of PI" is a part of visual appearance of the packaging/product or it is in such a manner that end user customer relates this description to a particular company's product, there might be passing off.

Other than this, Copyright is all about protecting "expression" , which includes your description and as @TomAu has said, if its generic, no protection offered. Also if it is plagiarism, you won't have much of a remedy.

Check out this link for Copy-Cat Branding

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .