During the USA trademark registration process, the Trademark Office may send you what is called an “office action.” Basically, a trademark office action is a letter from the trademark examining attorney informing you about the status of your trademark application. In general, you must properly respond to the office action within six months of it being issued. If you do not respond to the office action by the deadline, your trademark application will go abandoned and you will be forced to start the application process all over again.
Most of the time, a trademark office action raises relatively minor procedural or technical issues that need to be resolved before the trademark examining attorney will approve your application. For instance, the office action may require you to slightly amend the identification of products and services listed in your application, insert a disclaimer, or submit a better quality drawing of your trademark. These kinds of issues can often be handled with a telephone call or informal email to the trademark examining attorney in charge of reviewing your application.
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On the other hand, an office action may raise complex legal issues that need to be addressed before your application will be allowed by the trademark examining attorney. For example, the office action may indicate that the trademark examining attorney is refusing registration of your trademark on the basis that it is likely to cause confusion with another mark in an existing trademark registration or pending trademark application. Similarly, the office action may indicate that your application is being rejected on the basis that your trademark is merely descriptive, geographically descriptive, scandalous, or even deceptive. In these cases, it will be necessary to research, prepare, and submit a detailed legal argument in order to attempt to persuade the trademark examining attorney to withdraw the refusal. If you are successful, then the trademark examining attorney will approve your application. In the event you are unsuccessful, the trademark examining attorney will issue another office action and you will have the option of appealing the decision to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and/or filing a Request for Reconsideration.
A response to a trademark office action may be filed online using the forms provided through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). It is crucial that you use the correct form and that you fully address each issue raised by the trademark examining attorney in the office action. If your response fails to do so, the trademark examining attorney may declare your application abandoned. As such, it is often best to hire an experienced and knowledgeable trademark attorney to assist you in preparing and filing your response so that you know for sure that it satisfies all outstanding requirements.
If you have received a trademark office action, I would be glad to carefully review it free-of-charge. I will then advise you of all your options and their associated benefits, risks, and costs. If you choose to move forward after our consultation, I will promptly prepare and submit a response that fully addresses all of the issues raised in the office action.
If you would like an absolutely free consultation about your trademark office action, please feel free to give me a call or simply fill out the form above. I look forward to hearing from you soon.