What is the difference between filing a trademark and registering a trademark? First of all, it is necessary to understand that we are talking about two different moments of the mark’s life.
In this post we talk about:
Filing a trademark and symbol ™
The first step, filing a trademark, corresponds to the submission (technically said “filing”) of a trademark application to the competent authority. If we want to protect our brand in the Italian territory, we will and file an application in order to obtain its registration in Italy to the competent Italian office.
At this stage the mark is filed but not yet registered. This means that there exists an application, filed to the competent authority with the goal to obtain the registration of the mark.
Once the application is filed, it is possible to accompany the brand with the symbol ™, meaning that a trademark application has been filed to the competent authority.
It is important to defend your own trademark through the filing! The application is examined and, if no obstacles arise during the proceeding (or if they are overcome), the mark is registered.
The competent authority shall examine the formal regularity of the application as well as the existence of some requirements of the mark, which are variable depending on the State which examines the application (for example, some States examine the existence of conflicting earlier marks, others do not).
Registering a trademark and symbol ®
After the examination phase has ended and the possible deadline for opposition (if any) elapsed, the mark (which is still an application, namely “filed trademark”) is finally granted by the competent authority and the certificate of registration is issued, demonstrating its registration and acceptance by the authority.
The certificate of registration concludes the phase started with the application and certifies the acceptance of the mark by the competent authority. Only at the end of this phase we can say that the mark is registered and it will be possible to use the symbol ® in connection with the trademark.
How long is the time between filing and registration of a trademark?
The period between the two phases – filing and registration – varies according to the State in which the application has been filed. First of all, times for registration become longer if an opposition is filed against your trademark. Apart from the opposition, moreover, the time for registration is different from State to State: it may be a few months (for example, in the case of the European Union trademark, registration usually comes rather quickly, after four of five months from the filing of the application) or one or more years (for example, in Brazil the average registration time is about two years from the filing date).