When Does Registered Trademark Protection Begin?
If you have successfully filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you may be wondering, “When will the trademark protections actually begin? Is it automatic after applying?” The answer is that it depends on how your trademark is being used.
- Trademark Utilized in Commerce
If you are currently using your trademark in interstate commerce, you initially incurred rights at the outset of this use. Trademark rights arise from actual use of the mark. Indeed, trademark registration is not required for ownership of an enforceable mark.
However, there are multiple advantages to having a registered trademark. Primarily, registration includes the exclusive right to use the mark on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration, as well as, the presumption of nationwide ownership. Federal registration also provides notice to the public of your claim of ownership of the mark.
Despite the advantages of registration, it could take between seven months to one year to actually claim registered status. For example, if everything goes smoothly with your trademark application, the USPTO will eventually publish your trademark in the Trademark Official Gazette. The process does not end there.
Immediately following publication, the USPTO provides a 30-day window for other companies and/or individuals to file objections to your trademark. If an objection is raised, it will protract the registration process and prevent you from actually enforcing your registered mark until the objection is resolved. If, on the other hand, no objections are raised, your trademark application will mature into an official federal trademark registration. Once this maturation period occurs, you will have all of the legal rights that associated with the registered mark.
- Trademark Not Currently Used in Commerce
If you register a trademark that you intend to be used in commerce, but is not actually used in commerce currently, you may need to wait between eight months and nearly three years before you have trademark registration status.
There is a separate submission protocol for trademarks not currently used in commerce. Businesses utilize this protocol in an effort to get a head start on the registration process and, most importantly, it is desirable for your brand to be safeguarded by federal trademark law as soon as possible.
- Allowance Process
The allowance process is highly similar for trademarks currently in use in commerce and those which the owner has an intention to use. If the mark is approved after the publication period, the USPTO will issue a Notice of Allowance (NOA). An NOA is not an official registration, Instead, it indicates you have survived the 30-day opposition period and that the mark is entitled to registration. If the mark is not currently being used in commerce, you will be required to file a Statement of Use (SOU) within the required timeframe. You can further prolong this process by filing extension requests for up to 30 months.
Have Questions About the Trademark Registration Process? Speak to an Experienced Trademark Lawyer in Los Angeles Today
If you are interested in applying for a federal trademark in the United States, or you currently have a trademark that you believe is being infringed by another individual or company, now is the time to take action. Omni Legal Group is a premier Patent, Trademark, and Copyright law firm with offices in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills. For further information or to schedule a consultation with one of our highly experienced Los Angeles trademark attorneys please contact Omni Legal Group at 855.433.2226 or visit www.OmniLegalGroup.com to learn more.