In the year following implementation of the Trademark Law Revision Act of 1988 (the TLRA), Pub. L. No. 100-667, 102 Stat. 3935 (1988), the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) witnessed a dramatic increase in the filing of trademark applications. A large portion of the increase was attributable to the provision in the TLRA authorizing the filing of “intent to use” (ITU) applications. During the second and third years under the revised statute, filing levels dropped slightly, but remained well above pre-TLRA annual levels.
Though the pace of examination by the PTO's Trademark Examining Attorneys did not slow, and despite the hiring of additional examiners, the increased number of applications awaiting examination has caused the average time it takes both to begin and to conclude examination of an application to increase. Accordingly, for the Trademark practitioner desiring expedited examination of an application, it is more important than ever to prepare that application thoroughly and to prosecute it vigorously, while taking care to note the effect the TLRA has had on application requirements, examination procedures and substantive issues.