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Trademark Timeline - How the Trademark Process Works

Trademark Timeline - Steps to Obtaining and Maintaining a U.S. Trademark

Trademark Introduction

Trademarks protect your brand name, logo, or other identifier for your goods or services. Go to our list of trademarks obtained by this law firm, to see examples. By registering a trademark the U.S. Trademark Office is giving you a right to stop others from selling products or services which will confuse customers.

The trademark process has the following steps (and approximate timeline):

  1. Search / Due Diligence & Filing (0 months)
  2. Internal Review: Examination by the U.S. Trademark Office (10 months)
  3. External Review: Third Party Opposition (12 months)
  4. Use of the Trademark (at time of filing or 15 - 21 months; extensions available)
  5. Trademark Issuance (18 months)
  6. Renewal of the Trademark (before 6th year, before every 10th year)

Rejections and oppositions afford you the opportunity to respond though also add time to the above timeline.

First, a search is conducted. More information is here: Trademark Searches, view the previous page by clicking here.

After determining that filing your trademark application makes sense, we file at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the "U.S.P.T.O." or "USPTO).

10 months - Trademark Examination - "Internal Review"

About ten months from the date of filing, an Examining Attorney at the trademark office examines your trademark application and reports on his findings in an Office Action, or sometimes, by having a conversation with the Attorney of Record.

In many cases, your trademark is allowed at this point or allowed with a minor change or edit. In some cases, a trademark may be rejected outright. The most common rejections are:
a) the trademark is descriptive and is only allowable on the Supplemental Register;
b) the trademark is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace with another trademark.

If a response is necessary, we have up to six months to do so.

12 months - Publication - "External Review"

After passing through examination by the U.S. Trademark Office then your trademark application is published for opposition.  Once published, an opposer has 30 days to take action by instituting an opposition or filing an extension of time and then issuing the opposition.  During this time the parties often negotiate a settlement - or the opposer simply decides not to file the opposition at all. Oppositions are uncommon.

15 months - Notice of Allowance

A formal Notice of Allowance is then sent by the U.S. Trademark Office.  If we have shown that your mark is in use at the time of filing, this step is skipped.  Otherwise there is now a six month window to show that you are using your trademark by submitting pictures of your product with the trademark.  If your mark is a service mark advertising materials) are typically submitted.

18 months - Trademark Registration Obtained

After some more waiting and review by the U.S. Trademark Office the trademark is then granted!  Now statutory damages which are quite high can be obtained for infringing your trademark registration (in most cases) and you can use your trademark for brand registry at Amazon and other places.

60-72 months from issuance- Maintain Your Trademark

A trademark can be renewed indefinitely - as long as you're using the mark  For convenience, the timeline is now listing months from issuance and not months from filing. The issue date becomes key in calculating all future dates in U.S. trademark practice. Renewal then makes your trademark "incontestable" - only by way of fraud and abandonment (and other rare instances) can you lose your trademark.

So, between 5 and 6 years from issuance we file two affidavits: a) an affidavit of continued use and b) an affidavit of incontestability. Your Patent and Trademark Attorney typically keeps track of the deadlines though you should calendar the deadlines as well.

108-120 months from issuance - Maintain Your Trademark

By the 10th year of issuance, and every 10 years thereafter, you must file continued affidavits of use. Thus, at 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, and ...

For more information, take a look at our other trademark pages or get in contact with a patent and trademark attorney at this firm.

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