The USPTO has received record numbers of filings in the last few months and the last few years. And the numbers continue to climb. This has led to record backlogs and delays. The delays are not only impacting new applications getting reviewed (used to take approximately 3 months, currently taking 5-6 months), but also responses, evidence of use filings, renewal filings, and much more. Essentially, everything the USPTO does and every step of the process for applicants is being impacted by the enormous ‘weight’ of the increased filings.
Much of this is out of the hands of trademark filers — and obtaining a filing date is still the most important part of the application process, and that remains unchanged.
However, these delays highlight several actions that applicant’s can take to help maximize the odds, and the speed, for navigating this very long and winding road at the USPTO:
- Search before filing, to assess strategies for reducing the odds of a substantive resfusal.
- File applications ASAP, based on ‘intent to use’ if needed, to obtaining filing date and Serial Number, and to begin the process.
- File renewals ASAP – don’t wait until the end of the renewal period as it may lead to increased costs if the renewal documents are not accepted.
- Use software to automatically monitor the status of a USPTO filing (see, for example, sofTMware® here).
- Use an expert to help navigate the process; someone with experience can spot the trends and the flows based on handling a larger number of cases from a ten thousand foot view.