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How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

With your business set up and your branding in place, you want to start the application for a trademark process right away. Why? A registered federal trademark offers you and your business numerous protections, but the application process is long and drawn out.

So, how long does it take to get a trademark? On average, it takes between 12 and 18 months for a trademark to be approved and registered. If there are conflicts and opposition, it can take several years. 

Learn more about what the trademark process entails, and why you should start filing your application as soon as possible, in this guide. 

How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

The process of applying for and receiving a trademark typically takes between 12 and 18 months, although various factors can delay the process further. If there are numerous delays, it might take several years to register a trademark.

The good news is, once you receive your trademark, the protections apply retroactively. The registered trademark will cover usage from the day the application was filed. 

Due to the length of the application process, the best thing you can do is apply for your trademark as soon as possible, and do advanced research to avoid potential delays. 

If you’re ready to apply for your trademark and you want the latest estimates as to how long the process will take, check out the USPTO website. They provide a detailed breakdown of the current application process, and the estimated processing time of each step. These estimates are based on the current working speed of the USPTO, and the volume of applications. It doesn’t account for any case-specific delays that might affect your trademark.

A Breakdown Of The Trademark Application Timeline

How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark

It does take a while to work your way through the trademark application process. To help you understand exactly what’s happening during this time period, take a look at this breakdown of the application timeline.

The first thing you need to do will be to complete and file your application. Before doing this, make sure to check the USPTO database for similar and conflicting trademarks. Conflicting trademarks can result in a likelihood of confusion refusal, so be sure to check now to avoid unnecessary delays. 

Once your application is filed, the USPTO will review your application. This is likely to take 4 to 6 months, potentially longer if there is a backlog to work through. The USPTO will assign an examining attorney to your case, who will review all the details of your application with a fine-tooth comb. 

If the examining attorney finds an issue with your application, they will issue an Office Action. This identifies the problem, and the applicant will have 6 months to respond. If the applicant fails to respond or fix the issue in this time period, the application is considered abandoned.

If the application does meet federal requirements, the examining attorney will publish it for opposition. It typically takes between one and three months for the application to move from examining attorney to publication. 

Publishing for opposition, by the way, is a literal description. The trademark is published in the USPTO Official Gazette, and any person has the right to oppose.

Any opposition will be filed with the USPTO. Three administrative law judges oversee the opposition, and determine if it holds up. Once an application has been approved by the examining attorney, it’s unlikely to receive a valid opposition (but it isn’t impossible).

A trademark must spend 30 days in the Official Gazette without opposition. Once the criteria has been met, the applicant will be issued with their trademark. This will be either a registration certificate for a trademark already in use, or a notice of allowance (NOA).

If you filed for a trademark in use, at this point, the process is essentially over. Expect the registration certificate to take around 4 months to arrive.

An NOA requires a slightly longer process. If an applicant files with intent to use, they must later file a statement of use. This is done once the trademark has been officially used by the applicant. This essentially stops businesses from registering trademarks with no intent to use, simply to hoard the name or branding.

When Should I File For A Trademark?

The best time to file for your trademark is the moment you have decided on your chosen name, slogan, or logo. Applications take a long time to process, and even the best case scenario is around a 12-month waiting period. File for a trademark as soon as possible, so you can start the process rolling.

There’s more than speed motivating you to file for a trademark immediately: even the application process offers you some protection. As soon as your application is filed, you receive trademark protection. If (or when) you’re granted a federal trademark registration, your rights extend retroactively to the date of the original filing.

If you have been using the name or logo you intend to get a trademark for, you will already have some legal protection. Common law trademark rights protect intellectual property to a certain degree, and frequent market use can prevent a competitor from registering your trademark as their own.

However, common law trademarks are limited, and if you want to expand your business, the protection will likely fall short. Instead, start filing for your trademark as soon as possible. 

Why Do Trademark Applications Take So Long?

Essentially, the trademark application process takes a long time because there are significantly more applications filed than examining attorneys available to approve them. 

A trademark application has always been a relatively slow process. With all the checks required, plus the wait period for opposition, registering a trademark was never going to be a quick step. 

However, with the boom of ecommerce businesses, more and more people are registering for trademarks. With more applications to check, the longer the process will become. 


A trademark application can take between 12 and 18 months to be approved. If there are issues with the application, registering a trademark can potentially take several years. However, once the trademark is registered, the legal protections apply retroactively, to the date of filing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does IT Take To Get A Trademark?

It takes roughly 12 to 18 months from the date of filing to register a trademark. The application has to be reviewed and then published for opposition, which can cause further delays. Once your trademark is filed, the protections apply retroactively.

Should I File For A Trademark?

Yes! Filing for a trademark might be a long process, but it provides you with federal protections. In most cases, registering a trademark requires very little work for the applicant, and the benefits are wide.