(a) Upon filing an application for registration and payment of the application fee, the Secretary may cause the application to be examined for conformity with this Article.
(b) The applicant shall provide any additional relevant information requested by the Secretary, including a description of a design mark, and may make, or authorize the Secretary to make, any amendments to the application reasonably requested by the Secretary or deemed by the applicant to be advisable to respond to a rejection or objection.
(c) The Secretary may require the applicant to disclaim an unregisterable component of a mark otherwise registrable, and an applicant may voluntarily disclaim a component of a mark requested to be registered. No disclaimer shall prejudice or affect the applicant's or registrant's rights then existing or thereafter arising in the disclaimed matter, or the applicant's or registrant's rights of registration on another application if the disclaimed matter is distinctive of the applicant's or registrant's goods or services.
(d) The Secretary may (i) amend the application submitted by the applicant, if the applicant consents, or (ii) require a new application be submitted.
(e) If the Secretary finds that the applicant is not entitled to registration, the Secretary shall advise the applicant of the reasons the applicant is not entitled to registration. The applicant shall have a reasonable period of time, specified by the Secretary, in which to reply or to amend the application. If the applicant replies and amends the application, the Secretary shall reexamine the application. This procedure may be repeated until (i) the Secretary finally refuses registration of the mark, or (ii) the applicant fails to reply or to amend the application within the specified period. If the applicant fails to reply or to amend the application, the application shall be deemed to have been abandoned.
(f) If the Secretary finally refuses registration of the mark, the applicant may seek a writ of mandamus to compel registration. The writ may be granted, without costs to the Secretary, on proof that all the statements in the application are true and that the mark is entitled to registration.
(g) When the Secretary receives more than one application seeking registration of the same or confusingly similar marks for the same or related goods or services and processes those applications concurrently, the Secretary shall grant priority to the applications in order of filing. If a previously filed application is granted a registration, any other application shall then be rejected. A rejected applicant may bring an action for cancellation of the registration on grounds of prior or superior rights to the mark, in accordance with the provisions of this Article. (1997-476, s. 5.)