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NC SOS

Registration Appeal Process

Denial of Registration of a Mark

If the Secretary/Trademarks Registrar finds that the applicant’s mark is not entitled to registration, the Registrar shall advise the applicant in writing of the reasons why the mark is not entitled to registration; this is an "initial refusal." The applicant shall have a reasonable period of time with a specified expiration date, determined by the Secretary/Registrar, to submit a Request for Reconsideration of the "initial refusal". The Secretary/Registrar shall examine and review any documents, additional specimens or any other evidence submitted by the applicant as part of its Request for Reconsideration. If the applicant submits documentation and evidence that warrants a reversal of the "initial refusal", the mark is approved for registration. However, if the applicant fails to submit its Request for Reconsideration by the expiration date, the application shall be deemed to have been abandoned. Should the applicant still desire to register the trademark or service mark in North Carolina after the abandonment, a new registration application, set of specimens and $75.00 filing fee must be submitted.

If the Request for Reconsideration is submitted by the specified expiration date, and after examining and reviewing the documentation and evidence submitted with the applicant's Request for Reconsideration, the Secretary/Registrar determines that the mark still cannot be approved for registration, a "final refusal" to register the mark is issued.

Request for Reconsideration
During the period between a final action (refusal to register the mark) and expiration of the time for filing a response, the applicant may request the examiner to reconsider the final action. The filing of a request for reconsideration will not extend the time for petitioning the Director for a review. Amendments accompanying requests for reconsideration after final action will be taken into consideration.
Petition Director for Review

An applicant can petition the Deputy Secretary for review of the Registrar's "initial refusal" to register a mark. Petitioning the Deputy Secretary for such a review must be done prior to issuance of a "final refusal" by the Registrar. Because submission of a Request for Reconsideration to the Registrar will not extend the time to petition the Deputy Secretary for review, the petition must be submitted to the Deputy Secretary during the period between when the applicant receives the Registrar's "initial refusal" and the expiration date for submission of its Request for Reconsideration. Therefore, it is recommended that if an applicant decides to petition the Deputy Secretary for review, the petition should be submitted to the Deputy Secretary simultaneous to submitting its Request for Reconsideration to the Registrar. A copy of the applicant's Request for Reconsideration, and any accompanying documents or other evidence, that was submitted to the Registrar must be submitted to the Deputy Secretary with the petition for review.

If the "initial refusal" to register a mark is reversed, the mark will be approved for registration, However, if, after review of the applicant's Request for Reconsideration and review by the Deputy Secretary, the "initial refusal" to register a mark is not reversed, the Registrar will issue a "final refusal" to register the mark.

Request for Writ of Mandamus
If the Secretary/Registrar issues a "final refusal" for registration of a mark, the applicant may seek a writ of mandamus through the court to compel registration. The writ may be granted, without cost to the Secretary, on proof that all of the statements in the application are true and that the mark is entitled to registration.
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