If I apply for a US trademark and there is an objection from the USPTO, what happens next?

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Written by Jan Buza

Co-founder of Trama

Once your trademark is assigned to an examiner at the USPTO, it will be assessed based on multiple criteria. If the examiner finds an issue with your application, you will receive an "office action".

If you receive an office action, you have a set time to respond to keep your application alive. If a particular issue is raised for the first time, the applicant will receive a "non-final office action". The office action will contain a detailed explanation of the problem and a way to resolve it.

If the applicant fails to overcome the issue, the office action will become final. You can still respond to a "final office action"; however, the options are very limited.

The most common reasons for receiving an office action are:

  1. Likelihood of confusion - the examiner has identified a confusingly similar trademark with a pending or registered status.
  2. Your mark is descriptive or not unique enough.
  3. The examiner found some formal deficiencies; for example, you didn't file a proper specimen, the mark description isn't accurate, the logo has to be uploaded in a higher resolution, etc.
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