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Trademark Registration Process

The Trademark Registration Process in 4 Key Stages

Joshua Julien Brouard

Joshua Julien Brouard

10 October 20233 min read

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Trademark registration process

Registering a trademark can be tricky (Just ask OpenAI!). That’s why I wrote this: to minimize confusion and answer common questions. Below is a general overview of the trademark registration process. We strongly encourage hiring a trademark attorney to further assist you with the trademark registration process.

1. The 4 stages of trademark registration:

There are 4 stages of registering a trademark. The registration process can take an average of 12 - 18 months from start to finish (businesses, be patient!). 

Application:

The first step in obtaining a federal trademark registration is to fill out and file an application. Applications are submitted online using the USPTO website. You must pay a filing fee when you submit your application.

  • If the mark is already being used in commerce, submit the Section 1(a) application.
  • If the mark has not been used in commerce, submit the Section 1(b) application, which means you intend to use the mark at a later date. The definition of “use in commerce” is complex and depends on your specific situation.

After you file your application, you may put competitors on notice of your federal trademark rights.

Example:

“The trademarks, logos, and service marks (collectively the “Trademarks”) displayed herein are registered and unregistered trademarks of this business, its affiliates, and others. Nothing contained herein should be construed as granting, by implication, estoppel, or otherwise, any license or right to use any trademark displayed herein without the written permission of this business or such third party that may own the trademark displayed herein. Your misuse of the trademarks displayed herein, or any other content on this website, except as provided herein, is strictly prohibited.”

Examination:

Once your application is submitted, an attorney from the USPTO will be assigned to review it. If there are any issues with the application, the USPTO attorney, called the “Examining Attorney,” will issue a non-final Office Action explaining the issue(s).

  • You’re typically given six months to respond to a non-final Office Action. If you do not respond, the application may be abandoned.
  • If there are still unresolved issues after you respond to the non-final Office Action, the USPTO will issue a final Office Action.
  • If the USPTO does not accept your response to the final Office Action, you can appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”).

Publication:

After your application has been approved, your trademark will be published in the Trademark Official Gazette for opposition. Your trademark will be published on a weekly basis for 30 days.

  • This is an opportunity for others to oppose (file a Notice of Opposition) your trademark application.
  • Section 1(a) applications (“in use”) that pass the publication period without opposition may have their marks registered.
  • Section 1(b) applications (“intent to use”) that pass the publication period without opposition will receive a Notice of Allowance.

Registration:

Once your trademark is federally registered, you’ll receive a certificate of registration. The certificate contains your trademark registration number. You should receive the certificate within approximately three months of the completion of the application process.

  • Owning a federal trademark gives you particular rights for protecting your mark.
  • After 5 years of registration, the owner must file a Section 8 Declaration and pay the appropriate renewal fee.
  • After every ten years on the federal registry, the owner must file a Section X Declaration.

Secure your trademark, protect your brand.

Trademark registration is essential. It provides comprehensive legal protection in every state and ensures that nobody misuses your trademark for their own benefit, ultimately damaging your reputation and costing you valuable clientele. 

Complete your trademark filing online today with one of our qualified trademark attorneys. It’s as easy as just a few simple clicks. Our trademark law specialists also offer other useful services, such as trademark monitoring and renewals. 


FAQs

What are the steps in the registration of a trademark?

First, you need to submit an application with the USPTO. Proceeding this, you may have to deal with Office Actions (if any). After this, your trademark will be published in the Trademark Official Gazette in case of any opposition. Finally, once your mark is registered, you’ll get a certificate of registration.

What is the processing time for trademark registration?

The trademark registration process usually takes 12-18 months. This is because every trademark application must be reviewed by the Trademark Office

How hard is it to get a registered trademark?

Did you know that less than 50% of trademark applications are approved without office actions? It’s tough out there! That’s why it’s so important to see the counsel of a licensed trademark attorney to register a trademark.

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Joshua J. Brouard brings a rich and varied background to his writing endeavors. With a bachelor of commerce degree and a major in law, he possesses an affinity for tackling business-related challenges. His first writing position at a startup proved instrumental in cultivating his robust business acumen, given his integral role in steering the company's expansion. Complementing this is his extensive track record of producing content across diverse domains for various digital marketing agencies.