Step 1: USPTO receives your request
When we receive your request for an extension of protection from the International Bureau, we assign it a U.S. application serial number and put it in the queue for examination as a U.S. trademark application. We send you a filing receipt with your serial number. You can use this number to check the status of your application in the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system.
If you are domiciled outside of the United States, you need a U.S.-licensed attorney to handle any responses, filings, or communication with the USPTO, so we recommend you appoint one now if you haven't already.
A USPTO.gov account is required to electronically file documents and respond to office actions.
Step 2: USPTO reviews your application
Your application is assigned to an examining attorney who reviews it to determine if U.S. federal law permits registration of your trademark. See our current processing times for an estimate of how long this step takes. View the timeline for Section 66(a) application based on your foreign registration.
Next, you receive either of the following:
- An initial office action if there are issues preventing your trademark from being registered.
- A notice of publication if there are no issues preventing your trademark from being registered. If so, skip to step 10.
Step 3: Respond to your office action
Your office action explains any legal reasons we can't register your trademark, called "refusals" and "requirements." We send your first office action through the International Bureau. The International Bureau records the office action, publishes notice of the refusal, and then forwards the office action to you.
You must respond to the office action within six months of the date we issued the office action to the International Bureau. If you don't, your application will be abandoned. Your response must address every refusal and requirement in your office action.
If you don't respond in time, your application will be abandoned. If so, skip to step 9.
Step 4: USPTO reviews your response
The examining attorney reviews your response to see if it overcomes the refusals and requirements from your initial office action. See our current processing times for an estimate of how long this step takes.
Next, you receive one of the following:
- A final office action if your response doesn't resolve all refusals and requirements from your initial office action.
- A second nonfinal office action if your examining attorney identifies new issues that weren't covered in your initial office action. If so, go back to step 3.
- A notice of publication if your response resolves all refusals and requirements from your initial office action. If so, skip to step 10
Step 5: USPTO issues final office action
Your final office action explains any refusals or requirements your response didn’t resolve. This office action is sent directly to you, not through the International Bureau.
You have a few options for responding:
- File a request for reconsideration of your final office action, attempting to overcome remaining refusals or satisfy all requirements.
- File an appeal with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). You can do this instead of, or in additional to, filing a request for reconsideration.
- In limited circumstances, you may file a Petition to Director.
Step 6: File an appeal or request for reconsideration
In response to a final office action, you must file a request for reconsideration, a Notice of Appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), or both.
To request reconsideration, you must file within six months of the issue date of the final office action. Your response must address all remaining refusals and requirements from your final office action. See our webpage on responding to office actions and our video on responding to office actions for more information.
To appeal, you must file within six months of the date of issuance of the final office action. Use the Electronic System for Trademark Trial and Appeals (ESTTA) and select “file a new proceeding.” For more information on appeals, visit the TTAB webpage and watch our video about TTAB.
What will happen next:
- If you file a request for reconsideration, continue to step 7.
- If you file only an appeal, skip to step 8.
- If you don't request reconsideration or file an appeal on time, your application will be abandoned. If so, skip to step 9.
Step 7: USPTO reviews your request for reconsideration
The examining attorney reviews your request for reconsideration to see if your request overcomes the refusals and requirements from your final office action.
Next, you receive one of the following:
- A notice of abandonment if the issues from your final office action aren't resolved in your request. If you filed an appeal, continue to step 8. If you didn't file an appeal, skip to step 9.
- A notice of publication if your request resolves all refusals and requirements from your final office action. If so, skip to step 10.
Step 8: TTAB processes your appeal, if you filed one
Step 9: Revive an abandoned application
If you receive a Notice of Abandonment, we can no longer process your application, and your filing fees won’t be refunded.
If you didn't intend to abandon your application, you may be able to continue the application process by reviving an abandoned application within two months of the date the Notice of Abandonment issued. If you didn't receive the notice of abandonment, you must file the petition to revive within two months of the date you learned of the abandonment, but not later than six months after the abandonment date in TSDR. Your petition will be denied if you don't meet these deadlines. You must pay a required fee when you file the petition.
Next, you receive either of the following:
- A notice granting the petition, and confirming your application is revived. If so, go back to step 4.
- A notice denying the petition, telling you your application is not revived. To proceed, you must re-designate the United States in a new subsequent designation. Alternatively, you may file an application for a U.S. trademark registration directly with the USPTO.
Step 10: USPTO approves your trademark for publication
If your application satisfies all legal requirements, we publish your trademark in the Trademark Official Gazette (TMOG). The TMOG is a weekly online publication that notifies the public that the USPTO plans to register your trademark. Approximately one month after approval, your trademark publishes in the TMOG.
Starting from the publication date, there is a 30-day “opposition period.” During this time, anyone who believes they will be harmed if we register your trademark may file an opposition objecting to your trademark being registered. Alternatively, they can request an extension of time to file an opposition if they are still deciding. We’ll let you know if someone files an opposition or extension of time to oppose and what the next steps are.
An opposition is similar to a U.S. federal court proceeding but is held before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). As with the examination process, you need a U.S.-licensed attorney to represent you during the opposition proceeding if you are domiciled outside of the United States. Oppositions are complex and will extend the time between publication and registration of your trademark.
If there are no successful oppositions filed with the TTAB, we register your trademark after the opposition period and any extension periods have expired. If any opposition is successful, we won't register your trademark.
Step 11: USPTO registers your trademark
If no oppositions are filed, within approximately three months after your trademark publishes in the Trademark Official Gazette, we register your trademark.
Step 12: Maintain your trademark registrations
Your U.S. trademark registration filed through the Madrid Protocol is a registered extension of protection of your international registration. You must maintain both your international registration and your U.S. registration. There are maintenance documents you must file at specific intervals and fees to pay. See the inbound post registration page for more information.