Search

Chapter 19.77 RCW

TRADEMARK REGISTRATION

RCW Sections

19.77.010Definitions.
19.77.015Reservation -- Fees -- Rules.
19.77.020Registration of certain trademarks prohibited.
19.77.030Application for registration -- Fee -- Rules -- Corrections -- Amendment for change in categories -- Certificates issued in error.
19.77.040Certificate of registration -- Issuance -- Contents -- Admissibility in evidence.
19.77.050Duration of certificate -- Renewal -- Fees -- Rules.
19.77.060Assignment of trademark, registration, or application -- Fee -- Rules.
19.77.070Secretary of state to keep records.
19.77.080Secretary of state must cancel certain registrations.
19.77.090Actions relating to registration -- Service on secretary of state -- Assessment -- Set by rule.
19.77.115Classification of goods and services.
19.77.130Fraudulent registration -- Financial liability.
19.77.140Trademark imitation.
19.77.150Remedies of registrants.
19.77.160Injunctive relief for owners of famous marks.
19.77.170Use of trademark employed by alien person outside of United States -- Limitation of damages, relief -- Exceptions.
19.77.900Common law rights preserved prior to registration.
19.77.910Saving -- 1955 c 211.
19.77.920Severability -- 1955 c 211.
19.77.930Construction -- 1989 c 72.
19.77.940Prospective application -- 1989 c 72.

Notes:

Crimes relating to trademarks: Chapter 9.16 RCW.

Materials specifically authorized to be printed and distributed by secretary of state: RCW 43.07.140.



19.77.010
Definitions.

The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

     (1) "Alien" when used with reference to a person means a person who is not a citizen of the United States.

     (2) "Applicant" means the person filing an application for registration of a trademark under this chapter, his or her legal representatives, predecessors, successors, or assigns of record with the secretary of state.

     (3) "Domestic" when used with reference to a person means a person who is a citizen of the United States.

     (4) The term "colorable imitation" includes any mark which so resembles a registered mark as to be likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive.

     (5) A "counterfeit" is a spurious mark which is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a registered mark.

     (6) "Dilution" means the lessening of the capacity of a famous mark to identify and distinguish goods or services through use of a mark by another person, regardless of the presence or absence of (a) competition between the owner of the famous mark and other parties, or (b) likelihood of confusion, mistake, or deception arising from that use.

     (7) "Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, union, or other organization capable of suing and being sued in a court of law.

     (8) "Registered mark" means a trademark registered under this chapter.

     (9) "Registrant" means the person to whom the registration of a trademark under this chapter is issued, his or her legal representatives, successors, or assigns of record with the secretary of state.

     (10) "Trademark" or "mark" means any word, name, symbol, or device or any combination thereof adopted and used by a person to identify goods made or sold by him or her and to distinguish them from goods made or sold by others, and any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, and any title, designation, slogan, character name, and distinctive feature of radio or television programs, used by a person in the sale or advertising of services to identify the services provided by him or her and to distinguish them from the services of others.

     (11) A trademark shall be deemed to be "used" in this state when it is placed in the ordinary course of trade and not merely to reserve a right in a mark in any manner on the goods or their containers, or on tabs or labels affixed thereto, or displayed in connection with such goods, and such goods are sold or otherwise distributed in this state, or when it is used or displayed in the sale or advertising of services rendered in this state.

     (12) "Trade name" means any name used by a person to identify a business or vocation of such a person.

     (13) A mark shall be deemed to be "abandoned":

     (a) When its use has been discontinued with intent not to resume such use. Intent not to resume may be inferred from circumstances. Nonuse for three consecutive years shall be prima facie evidence of abandonment; or

     (b) When any course of conduct of the registrant, including acts of omission as well as commission, causes the mark to become the generic name for the goods or services or causes the mark to lose its significance as an indication of source or origin. Purchaser motivation shall not be a test for determining abandonment under this subsection.

[2003 c 34 § 1; 1994 c 60 § 6; 1989 c 72 § 1; 1955 c 211 § 1.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- 1955 c 211: "This act shall be in force and take effect on September 1, 1955." [1955 c 211 § 19.]




19.77.015
Reservation — Fees — Rules.

The exclusive right to the use of a trademark may be reserved by:

     (1) A person intending to register a trademark under this title; or

     (2) A domestic or foreign corporation intending to change its trademark.

     The reservation shall be made by filing with the secretary of state an application to reserve a specified trademark or service mark, executed by or on behalf of the applicant, one copy of the trademark artwork, and fees as set by rule by the secretary of state. If the secretary of state finds that the trademark is available for use, the secretary of state shall reserve the trademark for the exclusive use of the applicant for a period of one hundred eighty days. The reservation is limited to one filing.

[1994 c 60 § 2.]




19.77.020
Registration of certain trademarks prohibited.

(1) A trademark by which the goods or services of any applicant for registration may be distinguished from the goods or services of others shall not be registered if it:

     (a) Consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or

     (b) Consists of or comprises matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute; or

     (c) Consists of or comprises the flag or coat of arms or other insignia of the United States, or of any state or municipality, or of any foreign nation, or any simulation thereof; or

     (d) Consists of or comprises the name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual who has not consented in writing to its registration; or

     (e) Consists of or comprises a trademark which so resembles a trademark registered in this state, or a trademark or trade name used in this state by another prior to the date of the applicant's or applicant's predecessor's first use in this state and not abandoned, as to be likely, when applied to the goods or services of the applicant, to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive.

     (2) Registration under this title does not constitute prima facie evidence that a mark is not merely descriptive, deceptively misdescriptive, or geographically descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of the goods or services with which it is used, or is not primarily merely a surname, unless the applicant has made substantially exclusive and continuous use thereof as a trademark in this state or elsewhere in the United States for the five years next preceding the date of the filing of the application for registration.

     (3) A trade name is not registrable under this chapter. However, if a trade name also functions as a trademark, it is registrable as a trademark.

     (4) The secretary of state shall make a determination of registerability by considering the application record and the marks previously registered and subsisting under this chapter.

[2003 c 34 § 2; 1989 c 72 § 2; 1955 c 211 § 2.]




19.77.030
Application for registration — Fee — Rules — Corrections — Amendment for change in categories — Certificates issued in error.

(1) Subject to the limitations set forth in this chapter, any person who has adopted and is using a trademark in this state may file in the office of the secretary of state, on a form to be furnished by the secretary of state, an application for registration of that trademark setting forth, but not limited to, the following information:

     (a) The name and business address of the applicant, and, if the applicant is a corporation, its state of incorporation;

     (b) The particular goods or services in connection with which the trademark is used and the class in which such goods or services fall;

     (c) The manner in which the trademark is placed on or affixed to the goods or containers, or displayed in connection with such goods, or used in connection with the sale or advertising of the services;

     (d) The date when the trademark was first used with such goods or services anywhere and the date when it was first used with such goods or services in this state by the applicant or his or her predecessor in business;

     (e) A statement that the trademark is presently in use in this state by the applicant;

     (f) A statement that the applicant believes himself or herself to be the owner of the trademark and believes that no other person has the right to use such trademark in connection with the same or similar goods or services in this state either in the identical form or in such near resemblance thereto as to be likely, when used on or in connection with the goods or services of such other person, to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive; and

     (g) Such additional information or documents as the secretary of state may reasonably require.

     (2) A single application for registration of a trademark may specify all goods or services in a single class or in multiple classes for which the trademark is actually being used.

     (3) The application must be signed by the applicant individual, or by a member of the applicant firm, or by an officer of the applicant corporation, association, union, or other organization.

     (4) The application must be accompanied by three specimens or facsimiles of the trademark for each of the goods or services for which its registration is requested, and a filing fee, as set by rule by the secretary of state, payable to the secretary of state. The fee established by the secretary may vary based upon the number of categories listed in the application.

     (5) An applicant may correct an application previously filed by the secretary of state, within ninety days of the original filing, if the application contains an incorrect statement or the application was defectively executed, signed, or acknowledged. An application is corrected by filing a form provided by the secretary of state, and accompanied by a filing fee established by the secretary by rule. The correction may not change the mark itself. A corrected application is effective on the effective date of the document it corrects, except that it is effective on the date the correction is filed as to persons relying on the uncorrected document and adversely affected by the correction.

     (6) An applicant may amend an application previously filed by the secretary of state if the applicant changes the categories in which it does business. An application is amended by filing a form provided by the secretary of state, accompanied by three specimens or facsimiles of the trademark for any new or additional goods or services for which the amendment is requested, and a filing fee established by the secretary by rule. The amendment or correction may not change the mark itself. An amended application is effective on the date it is filed.

     (7) If the secretary of state determines within ninety days of issuance, that a certificate of registration was issued in error, then the secretary may cancel the certificate of registration. The secretary shall promptly notify the registrant of the cancellation in writing. The registrant may petition the superior court of Thurston county for review of the cancellation within sixty days.

[2011 c 336 § 551; 2010 1st sp.s. c 29 § 9; 1998 c 39 § 1; 1994 c 60 § 1; 1989 c 72 § 3; 1982 c 35 § 181; 1955 c 211 § 3.]

Notes:

     Intent -- 2010 1st sp.s. c 29: See note following RCW 23B.01.530.

     Intent -- Severability -- Effective dates -- Application -- 1982 c 35: See notes following RCW 43.07.160.




19.77.040
Certificate of registration — Issuance — Contents — Admissibility in evidence.

Upon compliance by the applicant with the requirements of this chapter, the secretary of state shall issue a certificate of registration and deliver it to the applicant. The certificate of registration shall be issued under the signature of the secretary of state and the seal of the state, and it shall show the registrant's name and business address and, if the registrant is a corporation, its state of incorporation, the date claimed for the first use of the trademark anywhere, the date claimed for the first use of the trademark in this state, the particular goods or services for which the trademark is used, the class in which such goods and services fall, a reproduction of the trademark, the registration date and the term of the registration.

     Any certificate of registration issued by the secretary of state under the provisions hereof or a copy thereof duly certified by the secretary of state shall be admissible in any action or judicial proceeding in any court of this state as prima facie evidence of:

     (1) The validity of the registration of the trademark;

     (2) The registrant's ownership of the trademark; and

     (3) The registrant's exclusive right to use the trademark in this state in connection with the goods or services specified in the certificate, subject to any conditions and limitations stated in the certificate.

     Registration of a trademark under this chapter shall be constructive notice of the registrant's claim of ownership of the trademark throughout this state.

[1989 c 72 § 4; 1955 c 211 § 4.]




19.77.050
Duration of certificate — Renewal — Fees — Rules.

Registration of a trademark hereunder shall be effective for a term of five years from the date of registration. Upon application filed within six months prior to the expiration of such term, on a form to be furnished by the secretary of state requiring all the allegations of an application for original registration, the registration may be renewed for successive terms of five years as to the goods or services for which the trademark is still in use in this state. A renewal fee as set by rule by the secretary of state, payable to the secretary of state, shall accompany each application for renewal of the registration.

     The secretary of state shall notify registrants of trademarks hereunder or their agents for service of record with the secretary of state of the necessity of renewal within the year, but not less than six months, next preceding the expiration of the unexpired original or renewed term by writing to the last known address of the registrants or their agents according to the files of the secretary of state. Neither the secretary of state's failure to notify a registrant nor the registrant's nonreceipt of a notice under this section shall extend the term of a registration or excuse the registrant's failure to renew a registration.

[2003 c 34 § 3; 1994 c 60 § 3; 1989 c 72 § 5; 1982 c 35 § 182; 1955 c 211 § 5.]

Notes:

     Intent -- Severability -- Effective dates -- Application -- 1982 c 35: See notes following RCW 43.07.160.




19.77.060
Assignment of trademark, registration, or application — Fee — Rules.

Any trademark and its registration or application for registration hereunder shall be assignable with the good will of the business in which the trademark is used, or with that part of the good will of the business connected with the use of and symbolized by the trademark. An assignment by an instrument in writing duly executed and acknowledged, or the designation of a legal representative, successor, or agent for service shall be recorded by the secretary of state on request when accompanied by a fee, as set by rule by the secretary of state, payable to the secretary of state. On request, upon recording of the assignment and payment of a further fee of five dollars, the secretary of state shall issue in the name of the assignee a new certificate for the remainder of the unexpired original or renewal term of the registration. An assignment of any registration or application for registration under this chapter shall be void as against any subsequent purchaser for a valuable consideration without notice, unless it is recorded with the secretary of state within three months after the date thereof or prior to such subsequent purchase.

[1994 c 60 § 4; 1982 c 35 § 183; 1955 c 211 § 6.]

Notes:

     Intent -- Severability -- Effective dates -- Application -- 1982 c 35: See notes following RCW 43.07.160.




19.77.070
Secretary of state to keep records.

The secretary of state shall keep for public examination a record of all trademarks registered or renewed under this chapter, and the records specified in RCW 19.77.060.

[1955 c 211 § 7.]




19.77.080
Secretary of state must cancel certain registrations.

The secretary of state shall cancel from the register:

     (1) Any registration concerning which the secretary of state shall receive a voluntary written request for cancellation thereof from the registrant;

     (2) All expired registrations not renewed under this chapter;

     (3) Any registration concerning which a court of competent jurisdiction has rendered a final judgment against the registrant, which has become unappealable, canceling the registration or finding that:

     (a) The registered trademark has been abandoned;

     (b) The registrant under this chapter or under a prior act is not the owner of the trademark;

     (c) The registration was granted contrary to the provisions of this chapter;

     (d) The registration was obtained fraudulently;

     (e) The registered trademark has become incapable of serving as a trademark; or

     (f) The registered trademark is so similar to a trademark registered by another person in the United States patent and trademark office, prior to the date of the filing of the application for registration by the registrant hereunder, and not abandoned, as to be likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive: PROVIDED, That such finding was made on petition of such other person and that should the registrant prove that he or she is the owner of a concurrent registration of the trademark in the United States patent and trademark office covering an area including this state, the registration hereunder shall not be canceled.

[1989 c 72 § 6; 1955 c 211 § 8.]




19.77.090
Actions relating to registration — Service on secretary of state — Assessment — Set by rule.

The secretary of state shall be the agent for service of process in any action relating to the registration of any registrant who is at the time of such service a nonresident or a foreign firm, corporation, association, union, or other organization without a resident of this state designated as the registrant's agent for service of record with the secretary of state, or who cannot be found in this state, and service of process, pleadings and papers in such action made upon the secretary of state shall be held as due and sufficient process upon the registrant. The secretary of state shall charge and collect an assessment, as set by rule by the secretary of state, at the time of any service of process upon the secretary of state under this section. The assessment may be recovered as taxable costs by the party to the suit or action causing such service to be made if such party prevails in the suit or action. The assessment shall be deposited in the secretary of state's revolving fund.

[1994 c 287 § 5; 1982 c 35 § 184; 1955 c 211 § 9.]

Notes:

     Intent -- Severability -- Effective dates -- Application -- 1982 c 35: See notes following RCW 43.07.160.




19.77.115
Classification of goods and services.

The secretary of state must adopt by rule a classification of goods and services for convenience of administration of this chapter, but not to limit or extend the applicant's or registrant's rights, and a single application for registration of a mark may include any or all goods upon which, or services with which, the mark is actually being used indicating the appropriate class or classes of goods or services. When a single application includes goods or services that fall within multiple classes, the secretary of state may require payment of a fee for each class. To the extent practical, the classification of goods and services should conform to the classification adopted by the United States patent and trademark office.

[2003 c 34 § 4.]




19.77.130
Fraudulent registration — Financial liability.

Any person who shall for himself or herself, or on behalf of any other person, procure the registration of any trademark by the secretary of state under the provisions of this chapter, by knowingly making any false or fraudulent representation or declaration, or by any other fraudulent means, shall be liable to pay all damages sustained in consequence of such registration, to be recovered by or on behalf of the party injured thereby in any court of competent jurisdiction, together with costs of such action including reasonable attorneys' fees.

[2011 c 336 § 552; 1989 c 72 § 8; 1955 c 211 § 13.]




19.77.140
Trademark imitation.

(1) Subject to the provisions of RCW 19.77.900 any person who shall:

     (a) Use, without the consent of the registrant, any reproduction, counterfeit, copy, or colorable imitation of a trademark registered under this chapter in connection with the sale, offering for sale, or advertising of any goods or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive as to the source or origin of such goods or services; or

     (b) Reproduce, counterfeit, copy or colorably imitate any such trademark and apply such reproduction, counterfeit, copy or colorable imitation to labels, signs, prints, packages, wrappers, receptacles, or advertisements intended to be used upon or in connection with the sale or other distribution of goods or services in this state on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the source or origin of such goods or services

shall be liable to a civil action by the registrant for any or all of the remedies provided in RCW 19.77.150, except that under (b) of this subsection the registrant shall not be entitled to recover profits or damages unless the acts have been committed with the intent to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive.

     (2) In determining whether, under this chapter, there is a likelihood of confusion, mistake, or deception between marks when used in association with goods or services, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to the following:

     (a) The similarity or dissimilarity of the marks in their entireties to appearance, sound, meaning, connotation, and commercial impression;

     (b) The similarity or dissimilarity of the goods or services and nature of the goods and services;

     (c) The similarity or dissimilarity of trade channels;

     (d) The conditions under which sales are made and buyers to whom sales are made;

     (e) The fame of the marks;

     (f) The number and nature of similar marks in use on similar goods or services;

     (g) The nature and extent of any actual confusion;

     (h) The length of time during and conditions under which there has been concurrent use without evidence of actual confusion;

     (i) The variety of goods or services on which each of the marks is or is not used;

     (j) The nature and extent of potential confusion, i.e., whether de minimis or substantial;

     (k) Any other established fact probative of the effect of use.

[2003 c 34 § 5; 1989 c 72 § 9; 1955 c 211 § 14.]




19.77.150
Remedies of registrants.

Any registrant may proceed by suit to enjoin the manufacture, use, display, or sale of any counterfeits or colorable imitations of a trademark registered under this chapter, and any court of competent jurisdiction may grant an injunction to restrain such manufacture, use, display, or sale as may be by the said court deemed just and reasonable, and may require the defendants to pay to such registrant all profits derived from and/or all damages suffered by reason of such wrongful manufacture, use, display, or sale; and such court may also order that any such counterfeits or colorable imitations in the possession or under the control of any defendant in such case be delivered to an officer of the court, or to the registrant, to be destroyed. The court, in its discretion, may enter judgment awarding reasonable attorneys' fees and/or an amount not to exceed three times such profits and damages in such cases where the court finds the other party committed the wrongful acts in bad faith or otherwise as according to the circumstances of the case.

     The enumeration of any right or remedy herein shall not affect a registrant's right to prosecute under any penal law of this state.

[2003 c 34 § 6; 1989 c 72 § 11; 1955 c 211 § 15.]




19.77.160
Injunctive relief for owners of famous marks.

(1) The owner of a mark that is famous in this state shall be entitled, subject to the principles of equity and upon such terms as the court deems reasonable, to an injunction against another person's commercial use in this state of a mark, commencing after the mark becomes famous, which causes dilution of the distinctive quality of the mark, and to obtain such other relief as is provided in this section. In determining whether a mark is famous and has distinctive quality, a court shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to the following:

     (a) The degree or inherent or acquired distinctiveness of the mark in this state;

     (b) The duration and extent of use of the mark in connection with the goods or services with which the mark is used;

     (c) The duration and extent of advertising and publicity of the mark in this state;

     (d) The geographical extent of the trading area in which the mark is used;

     (e) The channels of trade for the goods or services with which the mark is used;

     (f) The degree of recognition of the mark in the trading areas and channels of trade in this state used by the mark's owner and the person against whom the injunction is sought;

     (g) The nature and extent of use of the same or similar marks by third parties; and

     (h) Whether the mark is the subject of state registration in this state or United States registration.

     (2) The owner shall be entitled only to injunctive relief in an action brought under this section, unless the subsequent user willfully intended to trade on the owner's reputation or to cause dilution of the owner's mark. If such willful intent is proven, the owner shall also be entitled to the remedies set forth in this chapter, subject to the discretion of the court and the principles of equity.

     (3) The following are not actionable under this section:

     (a) Fair use of a famous mark by another person in comparative commercial advertising or promotion to identify competing goods or services of the owner of the famous mark;

     (b) Noncommercial use of a famous mark; and

     (c) All forms of reporting and news commentary.

[2003 c 34 § 7; 1989 c 72 § 10.]




19.77.170
Use of trademark employed by alien person outside of United States — Limitation of damages, relief — Exceptions.

Damages or equitable relief of any nature may not be awarded in any pending or future legal procedure in favor of an alien person against a domestic person on account of the domestic person's use of a trademark or trade name in this state that is employed by the alien person outside of the United States, absent proof that:

     (1) The alien person had commenced to employ the trademark or trade name in connection with the sale of its goods or services within the United States prior to the time the domestic person commenced to use the trademark or trade name in this state; or

     (2) That the trademark was registered by the United States patent and trademark office or reserved by the secretary of state to the alien person at the time the domestic person commenced to use it. This section applies regardless of the nature of the claim asserted and whether the claim upon which any such relief is sought arises by statute, under the common law, or otherwise.

[1994 c 60 § 7.]




19.77.900
Common law rights preserved prior to registration.

Nothing herein shall adversely affect the rights or the enforcement of rights in trademarks acquired in good faith at common law prior to registration under this chapter; however, during any period subsequent to July 23, 1989, when the registration of a mark under this chapter is in force and the registrant has not abandoned the trademark, no common law rights as against the registrant may be acquired.

[1989 c 72 § 12; 1955 c 211 § 16.]




19.77.910
Saving — 1955 c 211.

As to any pending suit, proceeding or appeal, and for that purpose only, the repeal of prior acts shall be deemed not to be effective until final determination.

[1955 c 211 § 17.]




19.77.920
Severability — 1955 c 211.

If any provision of this chapter is for any reason held to be unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions.

[1955 c 211 § 20.]




19.77.930
Construction — 1989 c 72.

It is the intent of the legislature that, in construing this chapter, the courts be guided by the interpretation given by the federal courts to the federal trademark act of 1946, as amended, 15 U.S.C., Sec. 1051, et seq.

[1989 c 72 § 13.]




19.77.940
Prospective application — 1989 c 72.

Chapter 72, Laws of 1989 applies prospectively only and not retroactively. The rights and obligations of chapter 72, Laws of 1989 shall accrue upon July 23, 1989, to all prior trademark registrations then in effect, and the provisions of chapter 72, Laws of 1989 shall not apply to any cause of action arising prior to July 23, 1989.

[1989 c 72 § 14.]