There are a variety of different dates for any given Federal trademark application – filing date, status date, publication date, first use date, first use in commerce date and registration date. I'll devote a few posts to each one.
Let's start with the first date you'll receive once the application is filed – the filing date.
Here's what the USPTO says about this:
"In an application under §1 or §44 of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051 or §1126, the filing date of an application is the date on which all the elements set forth in 37 C.F.R. §2.21(a) (see TMEP §202) are received in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”)."
Let's simplify this paragraph. For any applicant claiming foreign priority or foreign registration, you'll be filing under §44. The rest will be §1, which is going to apply to most US-based applicants, especially small businesses and/or those just starting out.
Okay, so the application is filed but what does it take to receive that filing date? "All the elements [must be] set forth" – which means what? There are 5 areas that must be satisfied to receive a filing date from the USPTO:
(1) the name of the applicant;
Who is the owner of the trademark?
(2) a name and address for correspondence;
Who is the contact? What is the address?
(3) a clear drawing of the mark;
Okay, now it's getting a bit more complicated. When filing an application, the USPTO site generates this drawing. Whether or not it's going to be acceptable is dependent on what's submitted.
If you're filing just words, NO logo and NO stylized font, then a drawing of the mark will just be your name in plain text. Very simple. If you're filing words with a logo OR a logo alone, then a JPG image must be uploaded, which will then appear on the drawing. There are certain specifications, which I'll touch upon in a future post.
(4) a listing of the goods or services; and
What are you using the name for? What types of products or services? The USPTO is very picky about how this section is filled out.
They have a standard of acceptable identifications; the key is not only to fill out this section but fill it out correctly.
(5) the filing fee for at least one class of goods or services.
Last but not least, the money. We here at TradeMark Express always recommend filing the TEAS form, which is $325 per class. So the USPTO must receive at least $325. If you're filing in more than one class, it's $325 apiece.
And that's what it takes to get a filing date. This is NOT what it takes to become registered, that point should be made very clear.