When an individual or business determines that it would like to get a U.S. trademark registration, naturally they have several questions about the process. This blog post should give you a better understanding of the U.S. trademark registration process. While there can be various challenges in getting an application through the registration process, having an attorney to help navigate you through can greatly increase your chances of successfully registering your mark.
There are a couple steps that are typically taken prior to the filing of a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The first step would be to determine whether the mark is eligible for registration. If so, we would then perform a trademark search to see whether an existing U.S. trademark registration or pending application with the USPTO would present a potential conflict. Assuming that the mark is eligible and we feel confident that an existing registration/pending application will not bar its registration, we would then file a trademark application with the USPTO.
Once the trademark application has been filed, it takes about a week for it to appear online on the USPTO trademark site. Remember: any application filed is part of the public record, and will always be with the Trademark Office. Even if you file to abandon your application, your grandchildren will be able to look up the information contained in the application, so do not expect your application to be confidential. Of course, if your application matures into a U.S. trademark registration, that will also be publicly available, even if you eventually abandon the registration.
It will typically take 10-12 months after filing your application before it gets assigned to a trademark examining attorney for review. The examining attorney will look at your application to see if it has been properly completed. They will also review the two things that we reviewed before filing the application: whether the mark is eligible for registration, and whether your mark would be likely to cause confusion with an existing registration or pending application.
If the examining attorney has any issues with or questions about the application, they will issue a trademark office action. An applicant generally has three months to respond to an office action. If they do not successfully address any questions or problems, they will receive a final office action. With a final office action, your options are to file an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, or to let the application go abandoned.
Hopefully, the trademark examining attorney never has a problem with your application, and you never receive a trademark office action. If that is the case, or if you successfully address all issued raised in an office action, your trademark will be approved for publication. The publication period is a 30-day window where any potential opponent to your trademark application can come forward to challenge it, or request additional time to file an opposition. If a trademark opposition is filed, the application process is suspended until the opposition is resolved. The opposition process is similar to a lawsuit, but is overseen by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Once the publication period is over, if no opposition was filed against you, or if any opposition was resolved in your favor, then your trademark application will mature into a U.S. trademark registration, assuming you filed your trademark application on an in-use basis. If you filed on an intent-to-use basis, you must show use of the mark in a Statement of Use before the USPTO will issue your U.S. trademark registration.
I know that after reading all this the U.S. trademark registration process may sound a little like a maze or a labyrinth. However, most applications do not go through all of the steps listed here. This is just a comprehensive overview of the U.S. trademark registration process… a list of everything that can happen. But whether your application registers without major challenges, or whether it faces office actions and oppositions: having an attorney will improve your chances of a successful registration.
Do You Need Assistance With the Trademark Registration Process?
If you have questions about your trademark application, or are interested in obtaining a U.S. trademark registration, please feel free to call me at (314) 479-3668, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete the contact form found on this page to schedule your free initial consultation today. I look forward to speaking with you.