What happens if my trademark application is granted?
After reviewing your federal trademark application, the examining attorney at the Patent and Trademark Office will decide to either reject your application or grant it. If the examining attorney grants your application, the PTO will send you a notice of publication. The notice of publication will inform you that your mark will be published in the Official Gazette (a publication put out by the PTO) and will inform you of the date of publication. The Official Gazette shows the mark, notes that the Patent and Trademark Office has approved it for registration, and gives any member of the public thirty days to oppose the trademark registration if they believe they have stronger rights to the mark or believe there is a likelihood of confusion between your mark and their own mark.
From the date of publication, members of the public have thirty days to file an opposition to a mark appearing in the Official Gazette. Within that thirty day period, one can also request an extension of time to file any such opposition. If someone does oppose your mark, an opposition proceeding will take place before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. This is a proceeding which can take several years to complete, similar to an in-court lawsuit. Once complete, the Board will either grant the opposition, meaning your mark cannot be registered, or deny the opposition, allowing your mark to be registered.
If no opposition proceeding is initiated following publication in the Official Gazette, or if you are successful in any such opposition proceeding, your application will move on to registration. Within approximately three months from the original date of publication (or from the date the opposition proceeding is concluded) the Patent and Trademark Office will issue one of two documents depending upon the basis of your application.
If your application was based on actual use, because you were already using the mark in commerce, the PTO will issue a certificate of registration. At this point, your trademark is considered registered. However, if your application was based on intent to use, the PTO will issue a notice of allowance. This notice indicates that your mark has been approved for registration, and that you have six months to begin using the mark and file a statement of use (indicating that you have begun using the mark) with the PTO. If you have not used the mark within six months, you can file a request for a six month extension of time, and you can continue to file such extension requests for up to three years.