The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) defines the “blackout period” as the period of time between when an Intent to Use trademark application is published by the examining attorney and when the Notice of Allowance is issued. During this time period, it is not possible to submit an amendment or statement of use.
The concept of a blackout period can seem complicated at first, but understanding the relevant terms can make it simpler to comprehend.
One may choose to submit an Intent to Use trademark application if the applicant is not yet using their trademark in commerce but has plans to do so in the future. Intent to Use trademarks give the applicant the opportunity to reserve a trademark before he or she actually starts using it, so it is generally recommended to file Intent to Use applications when possible. As part of the application process, the applicant must confirm that he or she has not yet used the trademark in commerce.
While Intent to Use applications come with several benefits, there are additional costs and requirements associated with them as well. According to the law, use of the trademark must be shown after the initial filing. The applicant proves usage by filing an Amendment to Allege Use or a Statement of Use, which typically cost $100 each. However, according to the law, these documents can only be filed within certain time frames.
The United States prohibits the USPTO from reviewing amendment or statement of use applications filed after the examining attorney approves the Intent to Use trademark application for publication. Further, the USPTO will not review amendments or statements of use Applications filed before the Notice of Allowance is issued. Combined, these two rules create a "blackout period" during which no amendment or statement of use can be filed. If these forms are filed during the blackout period, the application will be rejected and the filing fee will be refunded.
There are many requirements and even more paperwork involved in registering a trademark. The process can seem intimidating and confusing if you don’t have proper legal representation by your side. If you are interested in applying for an Intent to Use trademark and need additional clarification regarding the blackout period, contact an experienced intellectual property attorney as soon as possible with Attorney at Law.