The USPTO has been experiencing a surge in applications, which has lead to processing delays. Normally a trademark examiner would be assigned 3-4 months after filing. Now it’s taking 5-6 months. Take a look at the tables as of the time of this writing from the USPTO itself. The reasons for these delays stem from more small businesses opening up, business expansion due to the pandemic, Amazon’s brand registry program, and more.
So what can you do about these delays?
1. Make sure you do a comprehensive trademark search. This means the USPTO, state databases, google, social media, and more. You will probably need a trademark attorney to do this, but having a trademark attorney do the trademark search will hopefully give you a greater chance of seeing success in the future regarding your trademark registration. The point of the clearance search is to make sure that the name of your trademark is not being used in your industry.
2. File a trademark registration as soon as possible. You should not wait, because the USPTO will take whomever files first. If you are the senior user, you will have to oppose during the opposition period, or with the TTAB (Trademark Trials and Appeals Board), which will have a significant time and financial cost. Remember, trademark rights begin when you first use the mark in commerce.
Trademark registrations are taking longer than usual, so you will need to be more patient than usual. If you need any help with a trademark registration, you may contact me.