Applying to register your trademark with the USPTO begins a legal process. Legal requirements and deadlines must be met and fees may be required throughout the process. Not all applied-for trademarks register.
Every trademark application must have a legal basis for filing. The filing bases under federal trademark law are: Section 1(a) Use; Section 1(b) Intent-to-Use; Section 44(d) Foreign application; Section 44(e) Foreign registration; and Section 66(a) Madrid Protocol.
If your trademark registers, additional legal requirements, fees, and deadlines must be met to maintain your registration and keep your trademark registered.
The timelines below provide an overview of the process steps and time frames for filing a trademark application with a particular filing basis and for maintaining a trademark registration.
A Section 1(a) filing basis applies when you are currently using your trademark in commerce with all the goods/services in your application. You must provide the date you began using your trademark and a specimen (real-use sample) showing how the mark is actually being used with the goods/services.
A Section 1(b) filing basis applies when you have not yet started using your trademark. You must use the trademark and pay an additional fee prior to registration.
A Section 44(d) filing basis applies when you have filed for the mark in a foreign country.
A Section 44(e) filing basis applies when you have been granted a foreign registration for the same mark.
A Section 66(a) filing basis applies when you have filed an Extension of Protection under the Madrid Protocol.
After a registration issues, to keep the registration "alive" or valid, the registration owner must file specific documents and pay fees at regular intervals. Failure to file these documents will result in the cancellation of your registration.
After protection is granted to the international registration and a U.S. registration issues, to keep protection in the U.S., the U.S. registration owner must file specific documents and pay fees at regular intervals. Failure to file these documents will result in the cancellation of your U.S. registration and the invalidation of protection of the international registration by the USPTO.