On average it takes about 1 year from start to finish.
Every trademark case differs and depends on a number of issues, such as whether you file an “in use” application or an “intent to use” application, whether any oppositions arise from others, whether the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues any Office Actions regarding your application, and so forth. In general, you should want to budget at least a year for your trademark to be approved and get the benefits of trademark protection.
One positive note is that no matter how long it takes to get your trademark registered, when the process ends and your trademark is approval (assuming it gets approved), you are entitled to retroactive protection as of the initial date of filing your trademark application.
Let’s take a look at some of the steps that comprise that time frame.
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Trademark Application Process
The date from when you file your trademark application until the mark is approved known as an “application period.” Once you decide to register a trademark you will want to consult with a trademark attorney who has the experience to ensure that the mark you decide on has a good chance of approval.
Once you identify an attorney you trust and begin the process, your attorney will submit a trademark application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where it goes into a queue for an examining attorney to review. It usually takes 3-4 months for your trademark application to reach the top of the queue and for examination to begin.
The examining attorney will then conduct a thorough review of the application including checking an accuracy on the application and any potential conflict with existing mark(s).
In the ideal situation, there are no conflicts with existing marks and your trademark will then move to a 30 day publication stage. This is a way of publicly announcing your pending mark and to open the floor to any objections from others. At this point, you are at nine to ten months from date of filing. Once your trademark makes it through the 30 day period, your mark is approved and the USPTO will move to make it official (issued) within 2-3 months after publication (for a total amount of time of about 12 months).
Potential Delays For Your Trademark Application
There are a few potential issues that may slow down the trademarking process.
One is if the USPTO issues an Office action(s) requesting a clarification or correction to the mark or if the USPTO finds or a potential conflict or overlap with an existing mark. You’ll have six months to respond to an Office Action, at which point your application will either move forward or be denied.
Disputes during the publication period may also hold up your trademark’s approval, depending on the legitimacy of any claim.
If you filed your mark as “intent to use” application, you won’t be approved until you’ve filed a follow up to your initial application, proving use of your mark in commerce. You have a year to do this and this time may add to the overall time to approval.
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