Obtaining trademark registration with the USPTO does not happen overnight. In fact, the entire process, from filing to registration, takes longer than most businesses may realize or appreciate.
From start to finish, receiving USPTO registration can take 12 to 18 months.
Currently, the USPTO is reviewing applications within 4-6 months of filing. If the application is filed correctly with no conflicts or bars to registration, the examining attorney assigned to the application will likely approve the application to move towards registration. Alternatively, the USPTO may issue an Office Action, identifying issues with the application that need to be resolved before it can move forward to registration. If an Office Action is issued, the applicant has 6 months to resolve the concerns identified.
If no additional requirements are identified, the examining attorney will approve the mark for publication in the Trademark Official Gazette and provide a “Notice of Publication,” disclosing the date that the mark will be published (approximately 2 months after application approval). The “Notice of Publication” date is significant because it marks the day that the trademark is published for opposition; a 30-day window in which the public can file an opposition to registration.
If, at the end of the 30-day opposition period, no opposition is filed, the application can make the final move towards registration. Receiving a registration certificate from the USPTO can take 2-3 months after the opposition period has ended. Thus, even when the process runs smoothly, registration can take well over a year.
Although the process can take over a year to complete, it is important to remember that a trademark application attains protection from the moment the application is filed. Upon final registration, the registrant’s federal trademark rights are retroactive to the date of the initial filing. Additionally, even while the application is pending, the applicant has priority over any subsequent applicant that attempts to file a conflicting trademark.
These protections are a strong incentive to file for a trademark as soon as possible. They enable a trademark owner to prospectively protect their brand, especially given the length of time it takes to receive a registration.
As such, hesitant business owners should think twice about waiting to register a trademark. There is no better time than now. Please call our office, today, to learn more about trademark registrations and how we can help protect your brand and your business.