Yesterday, the USPTO issued the registration below for WASHINGTON REDSKINS for use in connection with
- men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and footwear; namely, coaches caps, wool hats, painters caps, baseball caps, visors, headbands, ear muffs, knit face masks, belts, wristbands, T-shirts, tank tops, pajamas, golf shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, neckties, braces, bibs, jerseys, night shirts, coats, robes, raincoats, parkas, ponchos, sneakers, gloves, scarves, snow suits, mittens, aprons, down jackets, leather jackets, shorts, sweatpants, jeans, pants, knickers, socks, underwear, bathing suits and leg warmers (Class 25)
- trading cards, posters, magazines and books regarding football, postcards, calendars, wrapping paper, paper gift boxes, paper stickers, paper napkins, paper towels, posterbooks, notepads, paper hats and greeting cards (Class 16)
The application was filed in 1992. It was on hold for so long due to a series of legal challenges – and many layers of appeals – to a variety of Redskins trademark filings on the basis of disparagement. Last year, the Supreme Court struck the provision of the Lanham Act that barred the registration of disparaging terms, in a case involving the band The Slants. The Supreme Court action in The Slants case paved the way for the challenges to the Redskins’ trademarks to come to an end.
Bottom line: many trademark applications, the vast majority, take somewhere around 1 year to reach registration or a final disposition. But you never know, sometimes they can take a decade, or even longer. It can take 7 months. It can take 7 years. There are many factors. The total application time can also depend on:
- how experienced is counsel at navigating the process?
- was the application crafted well in order to minimize the odds of receiving an Office Action?
- is docketing and status software being used so that updates are received when the USPTO adjusts the status of the application?
- are there obstacles to approval, such as a conflict, a descriptiveness finding, or the need to file evidence of use in commerce?
- are challenges filed to the application by a third party, or related litigation in the courts?
Each application is unique. No one can guarantee the outcome or the timing.
The trademark application process can take a very long time. But the rights in a trademark registration can potentially be renewed forever. Having a skilled advisor to navigate these complex waters is recommended.