Another little hurdle to the federal trademark registration process is overcoming Publication. Publication is when your trademark application is published in the USPTO’s Official Gazette (“OG”), the weekly publication for aspiring trademark registrations. Prior to Publication, your trademark application is reviewed by an Examining Attorney who conducts a search for exact or similar marks, and also addresses other registration issues through the issuance of Office Actions. Once reviewed, your application moves toward a little more public exposure.
The OG allows third parties who believe their trademark will be damaged by the registration of your trademark to oppose the registration by filing a Notice of Opposition or a Request for an Extension of Time to Oppose. Generally, these folks get 30 days to oppose (or request to extend) your application or your mark will continue to federal registration. If anyone pulls the trigger here, you will get a notice from the USPTO and you’ll likely be contacted by the other party (or their attorney) to discuss the hold up. If nobody opposes or takes other issues with your application during Publication, then your trademark will near federal registration. (I will talk about Oppositions, Cancellations, and other bad news bears of trademarks in a later post!).
Bottom line: Even if you overcome the hurdle of USPTO Office Actions, you still have to clear through the wall of third parties. Because remember, just because you filed an application, it does not mean you have a registration- there is a method and a process to this, as with many things in life. Publication makes sure all of the skeletons come out of your trademark closet.