Trademarks are important for your brand. So, we get it. You want to file your trademarks and get the registration as soon as possible. We want that for you, too!
Trademarks are valuable assets that help you stand out from your competitors, build customer loyalty, and prevent others from using your marks without your permission. The sooner you can get them registered, the sooner you can better enforce your rights.
So how long does it take to get a trademark? And is there any way to speed up the process? In this blog, we’ll explain how the trademark process works, and what you can do to avoid delays and get your trademark as fast as possible.
How the Trademark Process Works
Getting a trademark is not as simple as filling out an online form and paying a fee. It involves several steps and legal requirements that can take months or even years to complete. Here is an overview of the trademark process:
Step 1: Do Your Research
Before you apply for a trademark, it’s important to make sure that the name, logo, or slogan that you want is even available! This can be achieved with a comprehensive trademark search. There are lot of different little things that go into a trademark search. If you’re trying to do this on your own, we recommend doing several different searches. Start by using search engines like Google and Bing to get a better idea if anyone is using your name already for similar goods and services. You should also take a look at social media to see what uses are there as well. Of course, from the registration standpoint, you will also want to search the USPTO database to see what registered and pending trademarks have already been filed. When running these searches, it’s important to also search for similarly spelled words (including separate searches for various misspellings. A trademark search can help you avoid wasting time and money on a mark that is likely to be rejected or opposed by the USPTO or a third party.
Step 2: File Your Application
After completing your search, you can file your application online using the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You will need to provide information about yourself, your mark, your goods or services, and your basis for filing (such as use in commerce or intent to use). You will also need to pay a filing fee, which is either $250 or $350 per class of goods or services—depending on how you file.
Step 3: Wait for Approval
As of this writing, it’s taking the government about 9 to 10 months to assign an examiner to newly filed applications (I know, right?!). Once an examiner is assigned, though, they will review your application. From there, they will either approve your mark to move forward in the process or they will issue an office action, which is a letter that identifies any problems or issues that they found. If an office action is issued, you will have 3 months to either respond or to request an additional 3 months to respond. Otherwise, your application will be abandoned.
Step 4: Publication
After your mark moves forward from examiner review, it will published in the Official Gazette, which is a weekly online publication that notifies the public of pending trademark registrations. At this step, anyone who believes that they will be harmed by your registration will have 30 days to file an opposition or request an extension of time to oppose.
Step 5: Registration
If no one opposes your mark, or if you successfully overcome an opposition, the USPTO will either issue a notice of allowance (for intent-to-use applications) or a certificate of registration (for use-in-commerce applications). If you receive a notice of allowance, you will then have to file a statement of use showing evidence that you have begun using your trademark in commerce. This is a requirement for registration. If you had already proved use in commerce, the USPTO will issue you your registration.
Is There a Way to Speed Up the Trademark Process?
Unfortunately, there’s really not a way to speed up the process. As you can see, the trademark process can be lengthy and complex, and there is no guarantee that you will get your trademark in a certain time frame. However, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of delays and make the process go as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips:
Work with a trademark attorney
This is probably the single most important thing that you can do to minimize any delays. A trademark attorney can help you choose a strong and distinctive mark, conduct a thorough trademark search, accurately prepare and file your application, respond to office actions, and handle any oppositions or other legal issues that may arise. A trademark attorney can also advise you on how to use and protect your mark, and how to enforce your trademark rights against infringers. Working with a trademark attorney can save you time, money, and hassle, and increase your chances of getting your trademark registered.
Be Clear and accurate
When you fill out your application, make sure that you provide clear and accurate information about your mark, your goods or services, and your basis for filing. Avoid vague, broad, or misleading descriptions that may cause confusion or raise questions. Use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and follow the USPTO’s formatting and filing guidelines. The more clear and accurate your application is, the less likely it is that the examining attorney will issue an office action or reject your application.
Be responsive and cooperative
If you receive an office action or any other communication from the USPTO, respond promptly and professionally. Address all the issues and questions raised by the examining attorney, and provide any additional information or evidence that is requested. Be respectful and cooperative, and try to resolve any problems or disputes amicably. The more responsive and cooperative you are, the more likely it is that the examining attorney will approve your application.
Monitor your application status and deadlines
You can use the USPTO’s Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system to check the status of your application and view any documents or correspondence related to your application. You should also keep track of any deadlines or due dates that apply to your application, such as the deadline to respond to an office action, the deadline to file a statement of use, or the deadline to renew your registration. You can use the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) to submit any required documents or fees online. If you miss a deadline or fail to comply with a requirement, your application may be abandoned or your registration may be cancelled.
Getting a trademark is not a fast or easy process, but it is a worthwhile investment that can benefit your business in the long run. By following the steps and tips outlined in this blog, you can avoid delays and get your trademark as fast as possible. However, the best thing you can do to speed up the trademark process is to work with a trademark attorney who can guide you through the process and handle any issues that may arise. A trademark attorney can help you get your trademark registered and protect your brand identity. Contact us to learn more.