Why Dates and Deadlines are Important in Registering a Trademark

In the process of registering a trademark, dates and deadlines can be critically important.

The first reason that dates and deadlines are important in registering a trademark is that the trademark system tends to recognize the first user in commerce of a mark as being the legitimate owner of the mark. If there are two businesses who are each using the same mark under roughly equivalent circumstances, the earlier user of the mark will win.

There are some exceptions to this concept. The most notable of them is that, if you are successful in registering a trademark under the “intent to use” rather than actual use, the filing date of your trademark application, which is earlier than your date of your first use in commerce, can be used for determining who actually owns the trademark.

This leads to the critical role of deadlines in determining who owns a trademark. Let’s say that two businesses are both using the same trademark. Business A attempts the process of registering the trademark under the “intent to use” the trademark. Business B, a day later, starts using the trademark without any attempt at registering the trademark. A day after Business B starts using the mark, Business A starts using the mark.

There are two interesting scenarios here. In the first, Business A successfully completes the process of registering the trademark. Business A owns the trademark.

In a second scenario, business A misses a deadline to answer a document from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As a result of missing the deadline, the process of Business A registering the trademark stops because the United States Patent and Trademark Office deems that Business A has abandoned the mark. As a result, Business B now owns the mark, because they were the first user.

This simple example should make it clear to you that dates and deadlines are critical in the process of registering a trademark. It should also make it clear to you that you need to pay a lawyer to handle the process of registering a trademark, so that there is somebody who is paying very careful attention to make sure that dates and deadlines are not missed.

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