When you’re seeking trademark protection, it’s a good measure to clearly know everything about the trademark filing timeline. It generally takes somewhere between 12 to 18 months for registering a trademark with the USPTO. The whole trademark registration process involves different stages of the trademark application process which make up the trademark filing timeline. The timeline depends not only on different stages but also on the filing basis you select in your application. You should be aware of all the deadlines and response times so that the entire procedure goes smoothly.
This article explains the entire trademark filing timeline in great detail.
Trademark Filing Timeline- The Filing Basis
The timeline of your trademark application will differ according to the filing basis, i.e. the article under which you file. Each article has its own set of criterion that needs to be met in order to file under that particular article. We shall explain each one below.
This comes into play when you are currently using your trademark in commerce with your goods and/or services. The timeline varies from about 7 months to as long as nearly 2 years. Let’s take a look at each step through this flowchart.
- Application Filing: The very first step is to file your application. Over a period of 3 months, the USPTO reviews it and takes action accordingly.
- USPTO Review: The USPTO either approves and publishes your trademark or issues an Office Action within 1 month.
- Publication of Trademark: If the USPTO approves your trademark, it will publish it in the Trademark Official Gazette (TMOG).
NOTE: Publication is not registration.
- Office Action: If the USPTO has any objections against your application, then it will issue an office action in the form of a letter. You will have a time period of 6 months to respond to it in the form of First Office Action Response. The USPTO reviews it over a period of 1-2 months. If you clear the objections, then the USPTO publishes the application. Otherwise, the USPTO issues a Final Office Action. The time limit to respond to it is the same as the First Office Action.
- Trademark Registration: After the USPTO publishes your trademark, it waits for 30 days for anybody to raise objections against it. If the application doesn’t face any opposition, then the USPTO officially registers the trademark after 3 months. It will be valid for 10 years.
- Declaration under Section 8: Before the end of the first 6 years of the registration, you must file a declaration under Section 8. This states that your trademark is still in commercial use along with evidence.
- Renewal under Section 9: Before the end of the 10 years of your trademark’s validity, you must file for renewal under Section 9. This is done along with another declaration under Section 8, with the same requirements to get the trademark renewal.
Applicable when you have a genuine intention to use your trademark in commerce with your goods/services in the near future. The trademark filing timeline remains largely the same as the one in Section 1(a). The difference comes after the USPTO publishes your application in the TMOG. Instead of registering the trademark after 3 months, it issues a Notice of Allowance. The timeline from that point is given below:
- Notice of Allowance (NOA): The USPTO issues an NOA within 2 months of publication in the TMOG. This notice is not the registration in itself, but it means that your application didn’t face any opposition. You can get the registration after filing a Statement of Use on time.
- Statement of Use (SOU): Once you start using the trademark for your products/services, you must file an SOU with the USPTO. This is to be done within 6 months of issuance of NOA.
- Extension Request: There can be a situation where you are still not using the trademark after 6 months of issuance of the NOA. Then, you have to file for an extension request. This way, you can prevent your application from being labeled as “abandoned”. You can file a maximum of 5 extension request for a trademark application and each extension lasts 6 months.
- Review of SOU: After you file the SOU, the USPTO reviews it and takes action accordingly. It takes about 1 month to review it. If it approves the SOU then the USPTO registers the trademark, otherwise, it issues an Office Action. The time period for responding to it is the same as any Office Action. The renewal and declaration remain the same as well.
You may want to register a trademark in the US on the basis of a foreign application/trademark. You can read up about their trademark filing timeline here and follow the hyperlinks for more information on the same.
- Section 44(d): You use this when you own a foreign application. You must file that within six months of your U.S. application for the same trademark and the same goods/services.
- Section 44(e): You own a foreign registration of the same trademark for the same goods and/or services from your country of origin.
- Section 66(a): Your application basis is filing under the Madrid Protocol. It is a filing treaty that ensures the protection of trademarks in multiple countries.
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