The United States are one of the most sought-after countries for trademark registration, with 2.8 million active trademark registrations as of 2021. The high level of brand competitiveness has resulted in modifications to the trademark process that are indeed very unique to the US.
The most important difference, from which many others stem, is dividing applications into the ones where the brand is already actively used in commerce and the others that, at the time of filing, only have the intent to be launched in the market. The applicant has to demonstrate the use in commerce by submitting a so-called specimen, proof of use of the mark in the US market. Another evidence has to be submitted in Year 5 after a successful registration.
Other specificities include (but are not limited to) a very short length of the opposition window compared to other countries (only one month), outright stopping applications in case a likelihood of confusion has been found (compared to other jurisdictions that merely inform the owners of such marks but don't stop the application) and being a first-to-use country where rights are assigned to the entity first using the mark in commerce instead of the entity first applying for the trademark.
When seeking to register a trademark in the US, it's essential to know about these specifics to avoid potential complications or application dismissal.
Below you can find some of the frequently asked questions about trademark registration in the US.