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How long does the trademark process take?

Jun 23, 2020 | Trademark

Getting a product or service to market is a complicated process with many moving parts. Filing for trademark protection is one of those “parts” that ensures certain legal protections for the names and brand elements associated with your product or service. Securing rights to your company or product name, logo, tagline, distinct visual designs, and other brand elements should happen early in your launch into the market. As such, it can be helpful to have an idea of how long it takes to obtain trademark registration.

A typical timeline

While there is no precise date or number of days it takes to register a trademark, there is a general timeline that can give you an idea of what the process entails. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has a helpful webpage that details each of these steps.

Broadly, however, you will need to:

  • Conduct a search for similar marks
  • Prepare and submit your application
  • Pay the required fees
  • Monitor the status (at least every six months)
  • Respond to requests by the USPTO examiner promptly
  • Wait for approval or rejection of your application

In general, this process can take about 8 to 12 months after you submit your application.

Factors that can affect this timeline

Applicants can have a considerable impact on the time it takes to secure a trademark. Factors like incomplete applications, slow responses to requests from the USPTO and failure to file paperwork by deadlines can delay the process and possibly jeopardize the trademark registration.

There are also exceptional situations in which the USPTO may expedite certain types of trademark applications. This is currently happening with products and services related to COVID-19. The office reportedly will cut at least two months off the process by getting applications to examining attorneys more quickly.

Individuals and small business owners, may not have experience navigating the trademark system. While this should not prevent you from filing for trademark protection, it could make it easier to make avoidable and time-consuming mistakes. Therefore, it is wise to consult with a trademark attorney regarding various aspects associated with filing trademark applications.

Learn more about trademarks and brand protection by downloading our ebook, What’s in a Name? The Guide for Pursuing Legally Defensible and High-Value Trademarks.