There are many benefits to owning a trademark that’s been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, trademark applicants are often frustrated with how long it takes to enjoy those benefits. This is because the USPTO takes a long time to process and register trademarks. However, there are some circumstances in which the trademark registration process can be expedited.
When people ask me “How long will it take for me to obtain a trademark registration?“, I usually give an estimate of 9 months. Sometimes it goes a bit faster, sometimes the process takes much longer. This is problematic for those who want their trademark registrations today, or yesterday if possible.
The USPTO is an agency of the federal government. They have policies and procedures to follow, and like every agency, you can be sure they’d like to have more funding to hire additional staff. Each trademark application needs to be reviewed by an Examining Attorney assigned by the USPTO. This all goes to explain the lag time between the date of filing of an application and the date of registration.
You can take some comfort in the fact that at least everyone stands in the same line. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solo business person or the biggest corporation in the world – applications are processed in the order that they come in.
So when can a trademark application be expedited?
When a Petition to Make Special is filed and approved, the initial trademark review process goes from several months to several weeks. So why don’t trademark lawyers just file a Petition to Make Special for every application?
Pursuant to Section 1710.01 of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure, a Petition is an “extraordinary remedy,” which means that the applicant has to demonstrate special circumstances in order for the Petition to be approved. This usually applies when the applicant is facing the potential loss of substantive trademark rights.
Some examples of circumstances that might qualify for a Petition to Make Special, resulting in an expedited review process, are:
- Actual or threatened infringement of your trademark.
- Pending litigation.
- The need for a USPTO registration in order to secure a foreign trademark registration.
- The need to record your trademark with U.S. Customs in order to stop counterfeiting.
- The need to file a UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) proceeding.
- The need to take down infringing online or mobile content.
Bear in mind that just because you are in one of these situations, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the expedited trademark review will be granted. In order to access this extraordinary remedy, you (or your trademark lawyer) must persuasively argue that your circumstances are uncommon.
Petitions to Make Special are typically not granted for the following reasons:
- You’re about to embark on an advertising campaign.
- You’re about to launch a new product.
- You want to register your mark in the Amazon Brand Registry.
Want to see if your trademark application can be expedited? Reach out to me.