What's it going to cost and how long will it take?
Those are usually first the two questions asked by business owners who are interested in obtaining a federal registration on their trademark.
Here's a snapshot of the cost and a timeline for an application for registration of a trademark that is already being used. The timeline is slightly different if you are filing an intent to use application.
The filing fee paid to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is $325 for each international class in which registration is sought.
3 months after application
Once the application is submitted, there is a three month pre-examination period during which your application will be assigned to an examining attorney at the USPTO.
4 months after application
Once it has been assigned, the application is reviewed by the examining attorney which can take about a month.
If there are any problems with the application, the examining attorney may issue an Office Action requiring certain amendments, clarifications, or denying registration based on the existence of other applications or registrations which the examining attorney believes to be confusingly similar.
A response to an Office Action must be filed within six months. More than one Office Action might be issued, so the timing of this stage of the application can be different for different marks.
If you do not respond to an Office Action, your application will be considered abandoned.
5 months after application
After any issues raised in Office Actions have been resolved with the examining attorney, the mark will be approved for publication in the Official Gazette and the 30-day opposition period begins.
During the opposition period, other trademark holders have the chance to file an opposition action to the proposed mark if they believe there will be consumer confusion. Opposition actions take a long time and are expensive.
A thorough screening of your mark before you file an application will reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of an opposition action.
8 months after application
If no opposition action is filed, then about three months after the opposition period ends, the trademark registration will issue.
Other Important Dates
Section 8 Declaration of Use
In the year before the sixth-year anniversary of the registration, you need to file a Section 8 declaration of continued use. Failure to file this declaration will result in the cancellation of the registration.
In the year before the tenth-year anniversary of the registration, you need to file a Section 8 declaration of continued use and an application for renewal of the registration. Failure to file this declaration will result in the cancellation of the registration.
If you have any questions, drop them in the comments.