What a huge surge in trademark filings means for applicants
Guest blog by David Gooder, Commissioner for Trademarks
Since last fall, trademark applications from U.S. and foreign applicants have surged to unprecedented levels. As of June 17, the increase is roughly 63% over last year, which translates to about 211,000 more applications. And in December 2020 alone, the USPTO received 92,608 trademark applications, an increase of 172% over December 2019. This surge has doubled the number of applications waiting to be examined and increased waiting times at various stages in our processes. As a result, applicants may have to wait longer for initial processing of their application, receiving an office action, processing of responses to office actions, and reviewing of post-registration filings. For updated information and current processing times, please visit the Trademarks Dashboard page of the USPTO website.
We are continuing to explore the reasons behind the surge, but we do know that the increase comes from both foreign and domestic filings and is caused in part by an increase in e-commerce during the pandemic. For our customers, the bottom line is that applications are coming in faster than we have historically been able to examine them, and the backlog is increasing. We are keenly aware of this challenge and have taken steps to increase productivity, while maintaining the high quality our applicants expect.
For example, we’re implementing information technology solutions and system enhancements to process applications even faster. In addition, we've hired more examining attorneys and staff, we're finding better ways to distribute the workload among our current attorneys and staff, and we’re looking at every step in the examination process to find ways to increase efficiency. Through these and other actions, we will eventually bring our processing times back to customary levels.
If you have questions about this issue, or suggestions for us to consider, we welcome your feedback at TMFeedback@uspto.gov.