You’ve finally done it: you’ve come up with a brilliant idea! Now it’s time to trademark this amazing idea but how long does that take? This is a difficult question to answer, as it can take anywhere from 7 months to several years, depending on many factors. Key among these is whether or not you are currently providing goods or services under the trademark. If you are not, the USPTO will not register your trademark until you can show to them that you have begun actually providing goods and services under the trademark.
That said, it is important to file your trademark as soon as possible, even if you are not currently providing any goods or services under the trademark. The reason is that your trademark filing date with the USPTO is considered your legal priority date. This means that if you are granted a federal trademark registration, your protection is backdated to the date of your initial application. If your trademark is refused, or otherwise fails to register, the priority date is lost, and there is no protection.
If you are currently providing goods or services under the trademark, your legal priority date is the date of first sale, or the date that you retained your first client, depending on if you provide goods or services, respectively. That said, it is still important to file promptly, as the USPTO will cite earlier filed applications against your application, even if you have an earlier priority date, forcing you to undergo a lengthy and expensive legal process to attempt to cancel the other trademark based on your priority. All of this can be avoided by simply filing as soon as possible.
The Trademark Application Process
To the average person, the trademark process seems long and probably unnecessary. But there are certain steps that must be taken to complete the process. Once your application is submitted, the Trademark Office will review the application in about 4 months. They look for mistakes on the application, and to see if it conflicts with other registered trademarks.
If the trademark conflicts with another, the Trademark Office will issue an Office Action, which identifies the problem that the applicant must address. Applicants have up to six months to respond to each Office Action. The reasons for Office Actions range from simple requests for information which may be addressed over the phone with the examiner to substantive refusals that require complex legal drafting similar to a motion in court.
When all the issues are addressed, and if the requirements have been met, the Trademark Office will publish the approval in the Official Gazette, which is a weekly publication that gives the public information about trademarks applications that are about to be registered. This allows 30 days for oppositions from third parties or companies that feel that issuing this new trademark would infringe upon their rights, though a party considering an opposition can file for an extension of time, usually up to 90 days. If no oppositions are forthcoming, the trademark will generally register 11 weeks after the date of publication, but only if the applicant has provided proof of sales or clients, as discussed earlier.
The Trademark Registration Certificate
Once the publication period has ended, the Trademark Office will issue the trademark registration certificate. Again, this generally takes about 11 weeks after publication. The registration certificate will be posted digitally under your serial and/or registration number on tsdr.uspto.gov (the government’s trademark database) and can be printed at will. You can also have a hard copy on thick stock paper mailed to you. When you finally get the certificate in your hands, all the sleepless nights and worry will have been worth it. Each trademark application process is different, so it’s hard to say for sure how long your process will take.
Contact Us Today to Learn More
Registering a trademark can be a rewarding and exciting thing to do. There are many steps to the process that must be done, which can feel a little intimidating. We are here to help you through the whole process. Contact us to see how Trademark Garden can help you get the trademark you deserve.
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