Applying to register your trademark with the USPTO begins a legal process. Legal requirements and deadlines must be met and fees may be required throughout the process. Not all applied-for trademarks register. Every trademark application must have a legal basis for filing. The filing bases under federal trademark law are: Section 1(a) Use; §1(b) Intent-to-Use; §44(d) Foreign application; §44(e) Foreign registration; and §66(a) Madrid Protocol.
If your trademark registers, additional legal requirements, fees and deadlines must be met to maintain your registration and keep your trademark registered. The following timelines provide an overview of the process steps and time frames for filing a trademark application with a particular filing basis and for maintaining a trademark registration.
A trademark application based on current use is applicable when you are currently using your trademark in commerce with all the goods/services in your application. During the trademark application process, you must provide the date you began using your mark along with a specimen (real-use sample) showing how the mark is actually being used to distinguish goods or services in the marketplace.
A trademark application based on a bona fide intent to use is applicable when you have not yet started using your mark in commerce. Prior to registration, you must use the mark in commerce and pay an additional fee prior to registration.
A trademark application based on a foreign application is applicable when you have filed a trademark application to register the mark in a foreign country and seek trademark protection in the United States.
A trademark application based on a foreign registration is applicable when you have been granted a foreign registration for the mark and seek trademark protection in United States.