USPTO Federal Trademark Application Overview
Preparing a federal trademark application is the first step in establishing nationwide legal protection of a trademark. Filing a properly prepared and complete federal trademark application may act as constructive use and immediate nationwide trademark priority rights.
If no issues are found during the trademark prosecution, the federal trademark registration process will typically take anywhere from 8 – 14 months. Problems with an application that may effect this timeline include: the type of trademark application used; oppositions to the trademark application; refusals from the examining attorney. The examining attorney’s review of the application includes the determination of the following questions: (1) Whether the trademark functions as a trademark; (2) Whether the proposed trademark conflicts with any existing trademarks; (3) Whether the trademark application satisfies all technical requirements.
The basic process involves the completion of a federal trademark application; review of the application by the examining attorney; a potential first refusal of the trademark application; a response by the trademark applicant or applicant’s attorney; a potential final refusal followed by a response by the applicant or his counsel; appeal of the final refusal; approval of the trademark application; publication for a period of opposition to the trademark; a filing of a statement of use (if an intent to use application was used); and a certificate of trademark registration.
Once the federal trademark application process is finalized and the trademark achieves federal registration on the Principal Register, registration could potentially last forever as long as the trademark stays in use and the owner of the trademark renews every ten years (initial ten year period also requires renewal between years five and six). Renewals require the owner to file affidavits stating the trademark is still in use in order to keep the trademark registration alive.