What does "Prior pending application" in my office action mean?

Photo of Jan Buza

Written by Jan Buza

Co-founder of Trama

If your trademark applicantion has received an office action with "Prior pending application" as the reason for dismissal, it means the USPTO has received an application for a similar mark with an earlier filing date that is currently undergoing assessment.

Your registration will be temporarily suspended. If the other mark registers, your mark may be refused due to a likelihood of confusion.

Strategies for addressing this office action include:

  • Responding to the office action and providing arguments why the two marks shouldn't be viewed as similar,
  • Monitoring the status of the other application for the time being. If the other applicant faces issues resulting in them abandoning their application, your registration will resume. Alternatively, if they are successful in registering their trademark and you receive another office action based on the likelihood of confusion, you can still use the strategy mentioned above, approach them to sign a co-existence agreement or try limiting your classes. However, waiting for the ruling can cost you a lot of time.

Since the status of your application depends on the ruling about another mark, if you choose not to respond right away, it won't limit your rights to address the issue later.

Your chances of overcoming this office action depend on multiple factors, including the similarity between your and the other mark. Therefore, it's advisable to consult a trademark attorney about the best course of action.

Advice icon

Haven't found what you are looking for?

Our team of experienced trademark attorneys is here to help you! Simply send us an email outlining your request and we'll be happy to assist you.