When I tell people I practice Trademark Prosecution, they often assume I litigate trademark disputes. That’s not what it means at all. Trademark prosecution, in fact, has nothing to do with litigation. Rather, it is the process of obtaining a trademark.
The legal world is full of words that are used based on a historical context, often involving Latin. This term, trademark prosecution (and it’s big brother, patent prosecution) is no different. If I look up the definition of prosecution online, I will learn that its 2nd definition is “the continuation of a course of action with a view to its completion.” Reading further, I’d learn that it comes from the Latin word prosequi which means “pursue, accompany.”
Now it starts to make a little more sense. Trademark prosecution is pursuing a trademark, and continuing that pursuit with a view to obtaining that trademark. In other words, its the process of obtaining a trademark.
This may not have been a question that’s been keeping you up at night, but hopefully the next time someone mentions trademark prosecution, you can wax eloquently on the history behind the phrase.