Can you expedite a US trademark application?
The short answer is probably not unless you have a really good excuse. While it’s not impossible, bumping up a US trademark application can only occur under very limited circumstances. Actually, it is significantly more difficult to expedite a trademark application than a patent application. To speed up patent applications, you have options like Track One and Rocket Docket for utility and design applications, respectively. These patent fast track options typically require more fees and possibly a bit more upfront work.
In contrast, expediting a trademark application process requires a narrow set of special circumstances that will not apply to most applicants. In fact, the USPTO trademark manual even states that expediting a trademark application will not be available to most applicants. So this extraordinary remedy is limited by design. Absent such special circumstances, the USPTO examines trademark applications in the order they are received.
What are your options with a canceled or expired trademark registration?
A trademark application may be expedited if a trademark registration was inadvertently canceled or expired. To file a request to make special based on an old registration, the applicant must meet the following conditions.
First, the mark in the new application must be identical to the canceled or expired registered trademark.
Second, the goods or services in the new application must be identical or narrower than those in the canceled or expired trademark registration. In other words, you cannot add new items to the new trademark application that were not included in the old registration. You can subtract items from the old registration.
Third, the applicant filing the new application must be the same entity that owned the old registration.
While a petition to make special must be filed, no petition fee is required in this situation.
How can you speed up a trademark application?
Besides having an expired registration, you can speed up a trademark application under special circumstances. For a fee, you can file a petition to make special to advance a trademark application out of turn. This petition will require evidence of very special circumstances, such as a demonstrable possibility of the loss of substantial rights.
For example, circumstances showing the possibility of the loss of substantial rights may include pieces of evidence related to:
- concurrent litigation
- government regulations showing that a trademark registration is required to secure governmental approval for the goods or services
- cease-and-desist letters showing trademark infringement and/or threatened litigation
What situations would not support making a trademark application special?
To make a trademark application special, you really need to have unique circumstances showing loss of significant trademark rights. Here are some situations which would not support a petition to make special:
- embarking on an advertising campaign
- qualifying to sell goods or services on a particular website
Need to expedite your trademark application?
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