Q: My trademark application was rejected. What is going on?
A: There are hundreds of pages of rules that govern when it is “ok” to allow a trademark application to register. Trademark applications are examined by an Examiner, a lawyer with the Trademark Office who reviews the application does research, and then makes a decision about whether the application should be allowed based on the research and review. It is common for trademark applications to be rejected and common for rejected applications to later be allowed. Trademark Examiners tend to err on the side of rejection – their job is to protect the register.
Q: What is the Trademark Application Negotiation Process?
A: Even if you have a trademark application pending, the government will not give you the full rights of a trademark registration unless you meet all the requirements set out in the laws and regulations governing trademark registrations. A Trademark Examiner will review your application to see if it meets those standards. Since a typical position is that you have not, you must negotiate with the Examiner and convince the Examiner that you have met those standards.
Q: How does it work?
A: Typically, the US Trademark Office will issue an Office Action stating the position of the Office. The Applicant has six months to respond with arguments, evidence, and/or amendments to the application. Once the Office Action Response has been filed, the Examiner is required to address the Response and will either respond with another Office Action, a Final Office Action or a Notice of Allowance. This process can repeat several times until a Notice of Allowance is issued. When a Final Office Action issues, then the Applicant has options for moving forward, all including extra government fees. When the Trademark Examiner has issued a final office action, the Applicant generally takes the issues upon Appeal.
Q: How long does it usually take and how much does it usually cost?
A: Every application is unique and will take its own path. From our research, this process typically takes between about 3 – 15 months. Looking at statistics for typical fees charged by attorneys, the cost ranges between about $500 – $4,000+ over this time period. Our fees for this process tend to be lower than average by about 25-35%, so you can expect lower attorney fees, though government fees remain the same across the board.