How Long Does it Take to Get a Patent or Trademark?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Often one of the first questions we receive from clients is:  How long will it take to get my patent/trademark registration once an application is filed in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (“PTO”)?

The PTO’s 2012 Performance and Accountability Report (available at specifies that the average total pendency for a patent application in 2012 was 32.4 months.  Once the patent application is filed in the PTO, it takes on average 21.9 months to receive the first office action.  If you are wondering “Why so long?,” the Report indicates that the PTO’s backlog stands at just over 600,000 applications, down considerably from the more than 750,000 application backlog in 2009.  Further, over 550,000 new patent applications were filed in 2012 alone, up 5.3% from 2011.  In comparison, the PTO issued slightly more than 270,000 patents in 2012.

On the trademark side, the PTO reportedly moves much more quickly.  The average total pendency for a trademark in 2012 was 10.2 months.  The average pendency before receiving the first Office Action is 3.2 months.  By the way, roughly 311,000 new trademark applications were filed in 2012 and the PTO issued 110,000 registrations on its Principal Register.