Trademark Application Timelines – What to expect when you file a trademark application

September 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

Clients often ask how long it takes to get a trademark. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of answers to that question and it is hard to pin down. At a minimum, you will likely spend at least six months going through the USPTO trademark application process, but it is not uncommon to spend more than 12 going through various stages.

In this post, we will look at what the process and timeline looks like for applications based on actual use and also applications based on intent to use.

1(a) – Trademark Application Timeline Based on Actual Use

If you are already using your trademark in commerce, then you can file an application based on actual use.

The first step is to draft the application (most likely online using the USPTO’s online application system). Once the application is filed, the USPTO will take three months checking to make sure all of the basic requirements in the application have been filed and they may take other actions like assigning pseudo marks. The USPTO will then assign the application to an examining attorney who might take up to one month to review your application to see if it should be approved.

If the application is denied, the USPTO will send you an Office Action detailing the reasons for the denial and you will have six months to respond to the Office Action. If you don’t respond, the application is abandoned. If you do respond, then the USPTO will have another couple months to review your objections to its denials. If the USPTO decides not to reverse its original decision, then you have the option to enter into a lengthy formal appeals process that can easily take more than a year.

If the USPTO approves the application, or accepts your appeal to an Office Action, then your mark will be published for opposition. Third parties will be given 30 days to object to your application on various grounds. Assuming there are no objections, you will then receive a registration certificate in the mail about two or three months later.

Click here to view the USPTO’s visual timeline.

1(b) – Trademark Application Timeline Based on Intent to Use

If you are not using your mark in commerce but intend to do so within six months, you can file an Intent to Use Application.

Everything in this process and timeline is identical to the above with one exception. If the application is approved then, prior to publishing the mark for opposition, you must file a Statement of Use. In particular, once the USPTO approves the application, you will receive a Notice of Allowance and be given six months (which may be extended) in which to file your Statement of Use. The USPTO can take up to one month to approve or deny the Statement of Use.

Assuming your Statement of Use meets the USPTO’s requirements, your mark will register and you will receive a registration certificate in the mail about two to three months later.

The USPTO’s visual timeline for this process is similar to the chart referenced above and can be viewed here.

What to do After Registration

If you receive a federal trademark registration from the USPTO, you must file additional documents later. We wrote about those requirements in our post, How to Keep Your Trademark Registration Alive.

Need Help?

OK, so this process and all the various forms and requirements can be confusing.

But we’ve made it easy. For one low fee you can get your application filed and we can even help you with appeals and renewal documents when the time comes. Learn more over at www.mightymarks.com!


Image: Adobe/Silkstock
*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Readers with legal questions should consult with an attorney prior to making any legal decisions.

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