The Trademark Application Process: Based on information provided by the USPTO
* Filing Date - Filing Receipt
The PTO (Patent and Trademark Office) is responsible for the federal registration of trademarks. When a trademark application is received, the PTO reviews it to determine if it meets the minimum requirements for receiving a filing date. If the application meets the filing requirements, the PTO assigns it a serial number and sends the applicant a receipt about two months after filing. If the minimum requirements are not met, the entire mailing, including the filing fee, is returned to the applicant.
About three months after filing, an examining attorney at the PTO reviews the
trademark application and determines whether the trademark name may be registered. If the
examining attorney determines that the mark cannot be registered, the
examining attorney will issue a letter listing any grounds for refusal and
any corrections required in the application. The examining attorney may also
contact the applicant by telephone if only minor corrections are required.
The applicant must respond to any objections within six months of the
mailing date of the letter, or the application will be abandoned. If the
applicant's response does not overcome all objections, the examining
attorney will issue a final refusal. The applicant may then appeal to the
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, an administrative tribunal within the PTO.
A common ground for refusal is likelihood of confusion between the
applicant's trademark name and a registered mark. Marks which are merely descriptive
in relation to the applicant's goods or services, or a feature of the goods or services, may also be
refused. Marks consisting of geographic terms or surnames may also be
refused. Marks may be refused for other reasons as well.
* Publication for Opposition
If there are no objections, or if the applicant overcomes all objections,
the examining attorney will approve the mark for publication in the Official
Gazette, a weekly publication of the PTO. The PTO will send a NOTICE OF
PUBLICATION to the applicant indicating the date of publication. In the case
of two or more applications for similar marks, the PTO will publish the
application with the earliest effective filing date first. Any party who
believes it may be damaged by the registration of the mark has 30 days from
the date of publication to file an opposition to registration. An opposition
is similar to a formal proceeding in the federal courts, but is held before
the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. If no opposition is filed, the
application enters the next stage of the registration process.
* Issuance of Certificate of Registration or Notice of Allowance
If the trademark application was based upon the actual use of the mark in commerce
prior to approval for publication, the PTO will register the mark and issue
a registration certificate about 12 weeks after the date the mark was
published, if no opposition was filed.
If, instead, the mark was published based upon the applicant's statement of
having a bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce, the PTO will issue
a NOTICE OF ALLOWANCE about 12 weeks after the date the mark was published,
again provided no opposition was filed. The applicant then has six months
from the date of the NOTICE OF ALLOWANCE to either (1) use the mark in
commerce and submit a STATEMENT OF USE, or (2) request a six-month EXTENSION
OF TIME TO FILE A STATEMENT OF USE. The applicant may request additional extensions of time only as
noted in the instructions on the back of the extension form. If the
STATEMENT OF USE is filed and approved, the PTO will then issue the