Current and prospective clients ask me all the time, “How long to register a trademark in the US?” Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that seemingly simple question. Depending on your particular situation, it could be a matter of months. But, in some cases, it could take many years. The good news is that no matter how long it takes for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to issue the Certificate of Registration, all of your federal trademark rights date back to the filing date of your trademark application. In other words, it’s not the actual registration date that matters. In fact, the registration date is only relevant to calculate trademark registration renewal deadlines. It’s the application filing date that reserves your nationwide priority to use your trademark in connection with the advertising and sale of the products/services listed in your application.
How long to register a trademark in the US depends on many different factors. Let’s take a look at four different scenarios and see how they compare:
How Long to Register a Trademark That’s in Use?
If your trademark is already in use in commerce, you can file your trademark application under Section 1(a). After the application is submitted, it will be about 3-4 months before a trademark examining attorney reviews your application. If the examining attorney doesn’t issue a trademark office action and no trademark opposition is filed during the 30-day publication period, you can expect your trademark registration to issue within about 7-8 months from the application filing date. However, if you receive an office action, or an opposition is filed, then the time frame for registration will be significantly longer.
How About a Trademark That’s Not in Use?
If your trademark is not in use in commerce, you can file your trademark application under Section 1(b) (intent to use). Again, it will be approximately 3-4 months before a trademark examining attorney examines your application. If the examining attorney doesn’t issue a trademark office action and no trademark opposition is filed, the Notice of Allowance will issue about 6-7 months after your application is filed. You then have six months in which to file the Statement of Use. Once the Statement of Use is filed, your Certificate of Registration will issue in 2-3 months. If you’re unable to file the Statement of Use within the six-month period, you can file an Extension of Time, which will give you another six months in which to file the Statement of Use. You may file up to five extensions (six months each) until you must file the Statement of Use. So, as you can see, the time frame for registration if you file your application under Section 1(b) is primarily dictated by how long it takes you to file the Statement of Use.
How Long to Register a Trademark That’s Registered in a Foreign Country?
If you already own a foreign trademark registration for the exact trademark you want to register in the United States, you may be able to file your trademark application under Section 44(e). The process and time frame will be essentially the same as if you had filed your application under Section 1(a) (use in commerce). So, you can expect your trademark registration within approximately 7-8 months from the application filing date (assuming no office action or opposition).
What if I Have a Foreign Trademark Application?
If you already have a pending foreign trademark application for the exact trademark you want to register in the United States, you may be able to file your US trademark application under Section 44(d). In this case, the time it will take to obtain your trademark registration will depend on how long it takes for your foreign trademark application to become a registration. This is because the USPTO will put your application into suspension until you can demonstrate that your foreign registration has issued. So, if a trademark application filed under Section 1(a) or 44(e) typically takes 7-8 months to register (assuming no office action or opposition), it will be 7-8 months plus the time it takes for your foreign registration to issue before the USPTO grants your Certificate of Registration.
How Long to Register Your Particular Trademark?
I’m US trademark attorney Morris Turek. If you have questions regarding how long it might take to register your particular trademark, please feel free to contact me for your no-cost consultation. I can be reached by phone at (314) 749-4059, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by filling out my contact form located at the bottom of this page. I look forward to hearing from you.