In a nutshell, once you begin using your mark in commerce, you establish what is referred to as “Common Law Trademark Rights.” However, the complete process of obtaining an official trademark registration from the USPTO typically takes around 13 to 18 months.
Trademark Process Timeline
- USPTO reviews the application: 4 – 6 months
- Responding to the Office Action (unless there are no issues): 6 months
- Publication period in the Official Gazette: 3 months
- USPTO issues the certificate of registration: 2 – 3 months
- Total: Typically 13 – 18 Months
When you consider the initial 4-6 months for application review, the 6 months for responding to the Office Action, the 3 months for publication in the Official Gazette, and the 2-3 months for the issuance of the certificate of registration, you can expect a total timeline of approximately 13-18 months for acquiring a trademark. While this may seem like quite a while to most people, it’s crucial to understand why it takes this long.
The Date of Filing
It’s important to note that even though the entire trademark registration process may take over a year to complete, you gain trademark protection from the moment you file your application. Assuming you eventually obtain a federal trademark registration, your federal trademark rights will always be retroactive to the date of the initial filing.
For example, let’s say you filed a trademark application on January 1, 2023. Although your trademark registration certificate might not be issued until around April 15, 2024 (given the usual 13-18 months for completion), your federal trademark rights would retroactively apply from the date of the initial filing, which is January 1, 2023.
Overview of the Registration Process & Timing
After filing the trademark application, the Trademark Office typically takes about 4-6 months to review it. During this review, they mainly look for any errors on the application or conflicts with existing registered trademarks.
If the application conflicts with a previously registered mark or if any other issues arise, the Trademark Office will send an Office Action. An Office Action is essentially a letter that specifies the problems or concerns regarding the application that need to be addressed or corrected. Applicants usually have 6 months to respond to the Office Action.
Once all issues are resolved and all requirements are met, the Trademark Office approves the application for publication in the Official Gazette. The Official Gazette is a weekly publication that serves to alert the public to an upcoming trademark registration. This allows third parties or other companies to come forward and dispute any trademarks they believe would infringe upon their rights. The publication process typically takes around 3 months to complete.
Assuming no disputes arise during the publication period, the Trademark Office will issue the trademark registration certificate approximately 2-3 months after publication.
It’s important to remember that you must put in some effort to maintain your registration. You can find more information about this in our article: How Long Does a Trademark Last?
Ready to Become a Trademark Owner?
To summarize, when you add up the initial 4-6 months for application review, the 6 months for responding to the Office Action, the 3 months for publication in the Official Gazette, and the 2-3 months for the issuance of the certificate of registration, you get a total timeframe of around 13-18 months. This is generally what you can expect in terms of the time it takes to obtain a trademark.