Updated: 29 February 2024

What Does Disparagement Mean?

Disparagement is a term used in trademark law as the basis for a claim to cancel a registered trademark before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the Patent Trademark Office (PTO). To be considered, the claim must prove that the trademark is offensive or disparaging to a person or a group of people, or that it falsely suggests a connection that discredits a person’s quality.

Insuranceopedia Explains Disparagement

A trademark can be contested when it is claimed that it “disparages or falsely suggests a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute.”

Unlike claims that dispute the validity of a trademark, disparagement claims can be brought at any time. It is the PTO that determines whether there are sufficient grounds for the disparagement claim.

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