USPTO Trademark Application Filing Issues You Need to Know About
Crystal Broughan, Intellectual Property Attorney May 20, 2021 in Intellectual Property
I received a phone call from an attorney this week asking me if I had recently encountered any problems filing trademark applications with the USPTO.
She proceeded to explain that she had filed a trademark application with the USPTO via the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) on April 15, 2021 and received the email filing receipt from the USPTO with an assigned serial number. However, the trademark application never appeared in the Trademark Status & Document Retrieval (TSDR) database or the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).
When the attorney’s client tried to register her trademark with Amazon Brand Registry, she gave the serial number to them to verify that the attorney had filed the trademark application. Unfortunately, nothing came up in TSDR. So naturally, the client contacted her attorney and wanted to know what was going on with the trademark application.
What Is Going On at the USPTO?
The attorney called the organization and learned that USPTO software problems have been causing some new trademark applications to not show up in TDSR after being filed since at least late February 2021. The USPTO has not been able to figure out why some trademark applications go through TEAS and appear on TDSR and some do not.
Because of this issue, the USPTO has been manually entering the trademark applications that fail to appear in TDSR after being electronically filed. Currently, their staff is still manually entering trademark applications from February that never appeared in TDSR. The trademark application is then assigned to a law office within the USPTO, where it will be assigned to a trademark examining attorney. (It usually takes three months for an application to be assigned to a trademark examiner.)
The staff at the USPTO estimated that the application the attorney filed on April 15, 2021 would not be entered into TDSR until September 2021. This is a very serious problem for the attorney’s client, who is still trying to get her trademark registered through Amazon’s Brand Registry.
Is There Any Way to Get Trademarks That Experience This Problem Registered Faster?
The attorney has called every supervisor at the USPTO who would talk to her to try and find out what she could do to get her client’s trademark application to appear in TDSR sooner. She was told if she filed a new trademark application she would have to pay a new filing fee — and the USPTO will not refund any filing fees.
As a result, the attorney called the Commissioner of Trademarks, David Gooder, and left voicemail messages in an effort to try and get her client’s trademark application loaded into TDSR sooner than September. Eventually, Mr. Goodner had one of the attorneys in his office call the attorney back. The USPTO attorney apologized for the UPSTO software problems and offered to try and move the client’s trademark application forward.
However, the USPTO attorney then called back and said that moving the client’s trademark application ahead of all the others would not be fair. My friend told the USPTO attorney that they should put a notification on their website so that applicants and attorneys are made aware of the problem prior to filing the trademark applications.
What I Have Learned From the USPTO
After learning this, I went back through all the trademark applications that I have filed since the beginning of March and found one that never appeared in TDSR or TESS. I immediately called the USPTO Contact Center. Eventually, I was able to speak with a person who verified that the application was filed, but not appearing in TDSR. She told me to send the trademark application filing receipt to [email protected] and ask why the application was not appearing in TDSR.
I did as I was instructed and received the following response:
Dear Ms. Broughan,
Thank you for your email to the TEAS mailbox regarding your recent TEAS filing. You’ve stated that you are seeing the following message on the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) status tab: The status is currently unavailable or data has not yet loaded into the database.
We’ve had an unprecedented surge in trademark application filings. As a result, we are experiencing a delay in adding certain information to the TSDR record. Rest assured that we’re taking every possible step to correct these issues. In the meantime, please check the status again in two months. We sincerely apologize for the delay.
TEAS Support Branch
United States Patent & Trademark Office
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET
The USPTO Needs to Take Responsibility and Notify People of the Problem
As of this writing, the USPTO still has not sent any type of notification to trademark owners or their attorneys regarding the software problems the USPTO is experiencing. They also have not posted any notices on their website about the ongoing software problems that applicants may encounter.
This situation is a serious problem for businesses that are trying to register their trademarks so they may sell products on Amazon or any other e-commerce platform that requires proof of trademark registration or a filed trademark application. Individual applicants who receive filing receipts with serial numbers will assume that everything is fine and not know to check in TDSR or TESS for the status of the application.
Unfortunately, we have no idea how many trademark applications have failed to appear in TDSR or TESS after being filed electronically through TEAS. We only know that the USPTO is behind in manually entering trademark applications caught in this software hiccup to the point where a trademark application filed in April will not be manually entered into the system until September.
If anyone else has encountered this problem, please let us know if you have any more information on this problem the USPTO is experiencing.Share