It is pretty common for clients to ask me about the USA trademark registration process and what they can expect once their trademark application is filed. Although the road to registration can be quite bumpy at times, the good news is that the trademark registration process is relatively straightforward for most people.
Once your trademark application is electronically filed with the Trademark Office, it will be about a week before the application is available online for public viewing and access. You need to keep in mind that the information you provide on the trademark application form will not be kept confidential by the Trademark Office and will forever be part of the public record.
Because of the vast number of trademark applications that are filed every year, it will be approximately 3-4 months before the Trademark Office assigns your application to a trademark examining attorney for review. The trademark examining attorney will first examine your application for completeness and then will analyze whether your particular trademark happens to fall into any one of the numerous categories of trademarks that are legally prohibited from being federally registered. The trademark examining attorney will then conduct a thorough search of the Trademark Office’s records to see whether your trademark is likely to cause confusion with another trademark in a pending application or existing registration owned by someone else.
At this point in the USA trademark registration process, two things can happen. If the trademark examining attorney finds nothing that would bar federal registration of your trademark, then your trademark application will be approved for publication. On the other hand, if the trademark examining attorney refuses registration of your trademark, you will receive an office action explaining why your trademark application wasn’t approved. You will then have time to speak with the trademark examining attorney about the rejection and file a response to the office action. If you are able to fully and successfully overcome the rejection, then the trademark examining attorney will approve your application for publication. If not, your options would be to appeal the rejection to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, or simply allow your trademark application to go abandoned.
During the 30 day publication period, anybody throughout the entire world can file a trademark opposition against your application if they believe they will be harmed by the registration of your trademark. If an opposition is filed, then your trademark application will be suspended until the opposition is resolved. This could take weeks, months, or even years.
If nobody opposes your trademark application during the publication period, and your trademark application was filed on an in-use basis, the Trademark Office will issue your trademark registration. However, if your trademark application was filed on an intent-to-use basis, the Trademark Office will instead issue the Notice of Allowance. You then have six months to file the Statement of Use. If you can’t file the Statement of Use within those six months, you can purchase another six months by filing a Request for an Extension of Time. You can buy up to five Extensions of Time before you must file the Statement of Use. Once the Statement of Use is submitted and accepted, the Trademark Office will grant your trademark registration.
If you have any questions about the USA trademark registration process, or would like to explore the possibility of registering your particular trademark, please call me for your free consultation. I look forward to hearing from you soon.