Applications to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for trademark protections are reaching record highs. As of June 17, the USPTO reported an increase of at least 63% in applications compared to the same time last year. This translates to more than 211,000 additional applications that require review.
What does this mean for applicants?
Not surprisingly, applicants are finding themselves experiencing longer than average wait times for the initial process and filing reviews.
Why the surge?
The increase is likely the result of a backlog of ideas from the pandemic. Another reason connected to the pandemic is the increase in reliance on e-commerce. This has led to a jump in demand for protection of brand names and logos. The USPTO also reports the trademark requests are coming from both domestic and foreign sources.
What is the USPTO doing to address increased demand?
The USPTO states that it is using tech resources and system enhancements to help increase efficiency. They have also hired more attorneys to help examine applications.
How can I speed up the process?
Business owners can help better ensure their application process moves forward smoothly by taking the time and putting in the effort to better ensure the initial application has all needed information. The first step generally involves making sure the desired mark is eligible for protection. Once this is confirmed, you can move forward with the rest of the application process. It is also important to note that this is not a one and done process. Trademark owners will need to maintain registration, ideally on an annual basis.