You must’ve read a lot of articles on how to file for a trademark, and many more details related to the application itself but none saying what happens after you submit your application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
In this article, you will learn what happens after you apply for a trademark and more.
After sending in your application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you will be assigned to an examining attorney for review. If problems are found, they will reach out to you in the form of a letter, called an “office action”. This letter will explain what is faulty in your application and you will be given 6 months to respond. You must meet a deadline or your application can be rejected or denied.
If your application meets all their requirements, your trademark will be approved for publication in the USPTO’s Official Gazette for trademarks. This makes it possible for other people to oppose your mark if it ever infringes on their brand. If someone does oppose it, you may have to get some legal assistance to get rights to still register it, or let go of the mark you applied for.
Here are some key facts you need to know about trademarks:
Trademarks can only be registered if they’re to be used for business. You have to either file for an intent to use or one that you are already using in business.
Generic or descriptive names will be rejected as it will be unfair to other business owners under the same products and services (classes). Your trademark has to be unique as the primary purpose of a trademark is to distinguish your products and services from others in the same class of goods and services.
The trademark you’re registering can’t create a likelihood of confusion among the consumers in the market. If your name is too similar you may either be denied or face opposition from another brand in the future. This is because a similar mark can confuse people, making them think that your products come from the same source as another product and service.
The first step to ANY trademark application should be a search that will determine the trademarkability of your name. This will save you time and money if ever a similar mark exists, as this may cause your application to be rejected by the USPTO.
While a lot of companies are offering basic online searches, what you should be looking for is what they call a “comprehensive search”. The USPTO has a huge database of existing trademarks but only experts can properly handle a good search for you. A comprehensive search will alert you if you should still push through with your application and whether or not your application infringes on an existing trademark.
Comprehensive searches go beyond the USPTO database and gather data from state trademark databases, business directories, and even the internet, to thoroughly comb through other potentially similar marks. A proper trademark search will help you avoid marketing troubles and potential lawsuits in the future.
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