Applying for federal trademark registration is typically a wise investment for individuals and businesses. The benefits that come with registration, including nationwide exclusivity to use your mark in connection with your goods or services, can be extremely valuable. But, the trademark registration process can be confusing. This post explains the trademark registration process for applications submitted on a Section 1(a) use in commerce basis.
The Trademark Registration Process
Step 1: Trademark Clearance
It is wise for anyone considering trademark registration to obtain a formal clearance opinion regarding any risks associated with a proposed trademark application. Applying for trademark registration puts the world on notice of your claimed rights in a mark. As a result, it is important to understand whether you are infringing on any existing marks before filing the application.
Step 2: Completing the Application
The application itself is rather straightforward are requires the applicant to identify the trademark owner, address, mark, description of goods and services, date of use in commerce, and a sworn statement as to the applicant’s exclusive rights to the mark. The applicant is also required to pay the filing fee, which varies depending on the specific application.
Step 3: Office Actions
Once the application is submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it will be assigned to an examining attorney. The examining attorney will review the application and test it against procedural and substantive trademark law. If the examining attorney finds any reasons not to register the mark, he or she will issue an Office Action.
Applicants are required to respond to the Office Action within 6 months of its issuance. If Applicant is able to correct the errors noted by the examining attorney, the mark will proceed to the next step. If the examining attorney upholds the office action, the mark will not proceed to registration unless the applicant appeals the examining attorney’s decision to the TTAB.
Step 4: Opposition Period
Once the mark clears the examining attorney’s review, it is published for opposition in the Trademark Official Gazette (TMOG) for a period of 30-days. During this period, any third party that believes it will be injured by the registration of the applied for mark may file a Notice of Opposition in the TTAB. If a Notice of Opposition is filed, the trademark application is suspended pending the opposition proceeding.
If an opposition is not filed within the 30-day period, the mark proceeds to the next step.
Step 5: Certificate of Registration
After conclusion of the opposition period, the mark will proceed to final registration. In approximately 12 weeks after the opposition period, the mark will be registered.
If you have questions about the trademark registration process, or about a pending trademark opposition or cancellation, contact Revision Legal’s experienced trademark attorneys though the forms on this page or by calling 855-473-8474.
Editor’s note: this post was originally published in March, 2015. It has been updated for clarity and comprehensiveness.