How the Increase in Filing Volume Impacts Your Applications

Did you know, the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO) has an online tool the public can use to see the volume of pending and actionable trademark filings? It shows how many filings are in process and how long the average response will take. 

The dashboard confirms there has been a surge in trademark applications since 2019, as well as a push to weed out frivolous applications. The result: Longer waits. The increased wait time is particularly frustrating for small businesses. 
Let’s explore what is happening at the USTPO, and what you need to know right now about the fling process.

What the dashboard is telling us

Take a look at the USTPO trademark office’s filing dashboard. The data is constantly updated, and the metrics are important to trademark seekers.

One of the most important metrics to note is first action pendency. First action pendency measures the average number of months from the date of application filing to the examining attorney’s first office action. The USTPO had set a target of between 2.5 and 4.5 months from filing. At this moment in time, the first action pendency is taking an average of 5.5 months. 

Huge surge in applications

As of June 17, 2021, the USTPO experienced a 63% increase in filings over last year, roughly 211,000 more applications. And in December 2020 alone, the USPTO received 92,608 trademark applications, an increase of 172% over December 2019. 
As a result, applicants are waiting longer during all stages: The initial processing of their application, receiving an office action, processing of responses to office actions, and reviewing of post-registration filings. 

On the plus side, the dashboard shows a drop in the number of active registrations. I think this reflects the USTPO’s effort to stop fraudulent renewals and clean up unused registrations from the pipeline.

Downsides for small businesses

Delays do damage, especially to small businesses. The uncertainty period can be harmful. As you’re waiting on whether or not a particular trademark will be cleared for registration, you may face additional legal risks when launching new products or services. 

In today’s online marketplace, a delay in obtaining registration can make it very difficult to fight against infringers and counterfeiters on popular platforms like Amazon and Alibaba, as well as social media sites where counterfeiters prosper.

Bottom line:

The USTPO has acknowledged the backlog. They are implementing tech solutions and hiring more staff. However, it will take time for the backlog to subside, so it is more important than ever to start the process as soon as you possibly can. But do not risk accuracy for the sake of speed. The USTPO is scrutinizing applications more than ever before. 

Contact me for the speed and accuracy that is crucially needed at this time. When we work together, you are working with someone who has been practicing Intellectual Property Law exclusively since 1996. Your filing deserves the utmost quality professional legal attention. Do not trust your life’s work to just any professional, or an inattentive process. Contact me today. I am here to help you succeed.

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