What does ‘Published for Opposition’ Mean (or ‘Publication for Opposition’)?

Under 15 U.S.C. §1062(a), a trademark or service mark must be published for opposition before it can be registered on the Principal Register. This Publication and [short] time period (30 days) give a way and a time frame to object to the registration. Not just anyone can object/oppose, only any person or entity who believes that he/she/it would be damaged by the registration of the mark and can prove both Standing  and Grounds.

Trademarks are always published on Tuesdays in the Official Gazette for that week. Every Opposition period starts out at 30 days (4 weeks plus two days) and ends on a Thursday. A 30-day extension to file an opposition starts on the Thursday that the Opposition period ends and continues for another 4 weeks plus two days and ends on a Saturday. If there is a sufficient reason, otherwise known as cause, the extension of time can be made for 90 days and the cause must be stated.

Someone wanting to oppose who misses the opposition period can wait and file a Petition for Cancellation after the mark registers, if it does. Many intent-to-use applications never register because a Statement of Use is never filed. Extensions for Statement of Uses can be filed multiple times (up to two years time) so missing the opposition period can cause a long wait to cancel under some circumstances.

How Often are Trademarks Opposed?

Oppositions and Cancellations are Uncommonly Instituted But Are Real Threat Once Instituted

As reported in The USPTO Trademark Case Files Dataset: Descriptions, Lessons, and Insights, January 2013

The vast majority of published applications proceed directly to registration without any opposition. An opposition proceeding instituted for only 2.8 percent of 4.0 million published applications with prosecution event-data coverage in a recent USPTO study. For those applications no longer pending, the data indicate that the opposition was sustained [the trademark did not issue]  in about 44.8 percent of observations in which an opposition was instituted.

A cancellation proceeding is instituted for only about 1.1 percent of the 3.4 million registrations with prosecution event-data coverage. For those registrations with proceedings no longer pending, the data indicate that a cancellation was granted in about 44.9 percent of observations in which a cancellation proceeding was instituted.

All, None, or Some

For each and every class in an application to be opposed, the opposer must choose whether it is opposing all, none, or some of the goods and/or services. If the opposer chooses to oppose some, but not all of the items in the class, it may edit (by "deletions only") the identification(s) of goods and services so that only the opposed goods or services remain.

15 U.S.C. § 1062  Publication

 (a) Upon the filing of an application for registration and payment of the prescribed fee, the Director shall refer the application to the examiner in charge of the registration of marks, who shall cause an examination to be made and, if on such examination it shall appear that the applicant is entitled to registration, or would be entitled to registration upon the acceptance of the statement of use required by section 1051(d) of this title, the Director shall cause the mark to be published in the Official Gazette of the Patent and Trademark Office:   Provided, That in the case of an applicant claiming concurrent use, or in the case of an application to be placed in an interference as provided for in section 1066 of this title, the mark, if otherwise registrable, may be published subject to the determination of the rights of the parties to such proceedings.

15 U.S.C. § 1063  Opposition

(a) Any person who believes that he would be damaged by the registration of a mark upon the principal register, including the registration of any mark which would be likely to cause dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment under section 1125(c) of this title, may, upon payment of the prescribed fee, file an opposition in the Patent and Trademark Office, stating the grounds therefor, within thirty days after the publication under subsection (a) of section 1062 of this title of the mark sought to be registered.  Upon written request prior to the expiration of the thirty-day period, the time for filing opposition shall be extended for an additional thirty days, and further extensions of time for filing opposition may be granted by the Director for good cause when requested prior to the expiration of an extension.  The Director shall notify the applicant of each extension of the time for filing opposition.  An opposition may be amended under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Director. (b) Unless registration is successfully opposed— (1) a mark entitled to registration on the principal register based on an application filed under section 1051(a) of this title or pursuant to section 1126 shall be registered in the Patent and Trademark Office, a certificate of registration shall be issued, and notice of the registration shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Patent and Trademark Office; or (2) a notice of allowance shall be issued to the applicant if the applicant applied for registration under section 1051(b) of this title.

The current fee for a Notice of Opposition, per class is $300.00 and the Notice must contain certain information in order to be accepted by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). A Suggested Format for an opposition is provided by the USPTO at www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/ttab/oppositionformat.pdf..   

30 Days Seems like a Short Time Period!

The actual time frame to oppose after publication is only 30 days (or more with an extension) but a trademark or trade name owner who is diligent about protecting their rights can search for marks to oppose long before this period starts. A claim of likelihood of confusion is the most frequently encountered issue in Board (TTAB) inter partes proceedings (309.03(c) Grounds).  

The Opposition period is not just a formality to make sure the examiner did not miss a likelihood of confusion issue during examination. The USPTO only looks at the Right to Register a mark with respect to other federally registered or pending federal registrations during the examination of a mark before opposition. The Right to Use is much broader and incorporates common law rights as well as federal registration rights. The Right to Use a mark is not examined by the USPTO and can only be enforced by prior users of a mark who believe that a registration will damage their prior rights and protect those rights through opposition, cancellation or suing through the courts. An opposer may be an owner of a registered trademark, an unregistered trademark, or a trade name.

(In a Not Just Patents Five-Step Verification, the Verify Inherent Strength, the Verify Right to Use and the Verify Right to Register steps all look at different aspects of the likelihood of confusion issues to avoid oppositions and cancellations AND weak marks.)

How/When can Marks be Identified and Searched for Verification or Opposition Purposes

A trademark application appears on TESS at the USPTO web site within a few days of the application being submitted and remains there for a minimum of about 3-4 months (if there are no issues for refusals) before the trademark is approved for publication for opposition. This approval step is marked on the USPTO TSDR (Trademark Status and Document Retrieval) as ‘APPROVED FOR PUB - PRINCIPAL REGISTER’ . Note: This step may take much longer than 3-4 months if the trademark application did not meet USPTO requirements for the Right to Register. Note: marks on the Supplemental Register are not published for opposition.

This change in the record means that the USPTO believes the trademark would be entitled to registration under the current circumstances (assuming an acceptable AAU or SOU were filed for an intent-to-use application and that no new issues were found). If the application is an intent-to-use application, the examiner may re-examine an application when the Statement of Use (SOU) is filed because there may be new issues involved with the specimen submitted, new issues of likelihood of confusion with marks that registered during the lag time  or other issues.

When the APPROVED FOR PUB - PRINCIPAL REGISTER step is finished, the trademark application is given a date in the ‘Published for Opposition’ field that is 3-5 weeks after the date of APPROVED FOR PUB - PRINCIPAL REGISTER (This is a future date at this point, the actual publication has not taken place, just the approval.) In other words, 3-5 weeks before a mark publishes for opposition, the records show that it is going to publish and it can be searched and if applicable, an opposition planned for the  future 30 day period.

 ‘Published for Opposition’ Searches Using TESS

(Trademark Electronic Search System)

A Trademark Official Gazette (TMOG) “search line” is available from TESS where users can generate a list of all marks Published for Opposition in that TMOG, or a list of all new registrations published in that TMOG. TESS can be accessed at: http://tess2.uspto.gov/. The following 5 choices are available for general searching but only those marked A, B, and C below can be searched using the Published for Opposition field.

Select The Search Form

* New User Form Search (Basic)

A  * Structured Form Search (Boolean)

B  * Free Form Search (Advanced Search)

* Browse Dictionary (View Indexes)

C  * Search OG Publication Date or Registration Date

Note that users can refine their search so that they include only marks published in a particular TMOG that have particular characteristics, the examples used here is for IC 009 and the Trademark Official Gazette (TMOG) for several dates in 2013.  

A. Search the Published for Opposition Date field using * Structured Form Search (Boolean)

To generate a list of all the marks published for opposition in the TMOG of 11 October 2016 that identify goods classified in international class 9, enter the following into TESS at http://tess2.uspto.gov/ and select * Structured Form Search  

   1. In the “search term” line, enter 20161011;

   2. In the corresponding field line, select “Published for Opposition Date” from the pull-down menu;

   3. In the operator field, select “and” from the pull-down menu;

   4. In the “search term” line, enter 009; and

   5. In the corresponding field, select “international class” from the pull-down menu.

   6.  Submit Query

B. Search the Published for Opposition Date field using * Free Form Search (Advanced Search)

To generate a list of all the marks published for opposition in the TMOG of 11 October 2016 (always a Tuesday) that identify goods classified in international class 9, enter the following into TESS at http://tess2.uspto.gov/ and select * Free Form Search   

   1.  Search box enter the following: 20161011[PO] AND 009[IC]

   2.  Submit Query

[This search brought up 987 records.]

More complex options are available:

International Class [IC]

This field identifies the class(es) assigned to a mark under the International Classification of Goods and Services (Nice Agreement) based upon the goods or services on which the mark is used. The International Classification has been the primary classification for marks in the United States since September 1, 1973.

TIP: Enter a numeric international class in quotes with leading zeros, if necessary.

Example: Enter "032"[IC]  or 032[IC] to retrieve documents classified in International Class 032.

Note: This International Class field is included for searching convenience, but the displayed International Class information is actually part of the Goods and Services [GS] text to allow for the searching of specific GS text terms occurring in a specific International Class. For example, the search ((IC WITH "032") SAME FRUIT)[GS] will retrieve only marks containing the word FRUIT occurring for International Class 032 in the Goods and Services statement.

Published for Opposition [PO]

This field contains the date that the application was published for opposition in the Trademark Official Gazette. Dates are stored in the format YYYYMMDD for the four-digit year YYYY, the two digit month MM and the two digit day DD. The $ (unlimited) and ? (single character) truncation operators are appropriate for use in date searches.

For example, the following search will retrieve all marks with a published for opposition date of 11 October 2016:      20161011[PO]

Either of the following searches will retrieve all marks with a published for opposition date any time in October, 2016:      201610$[PO]      201610??[PO]

Alternatively, the ` operator can be used for numeric range searches on date fields. The following search will retrieve all marks with a published for opposition date in January 2016 or later:      `PO > "20160000"

The following search will retrieve all marks with a published for opposition date from January 2016 through December 2016.      `PO > 20160000 < 20170000

C. Search using Search OG Publication Date or Registration Date

To generate a list of all the marks published for opposition in the TMOG of 11 October 2016 that identify goods classified in international class 9, enter the following into TESS at http://tess2.uspto.gov/ and select * Search OG Publication Date or Registration Date   

   1. In the “OG Date” line, enter 20161011;

   2. In the corresponding field line, select “publish for opposition date” from the pull-down menu;

   3. In the operator field, select “and” from the pull-down menu;

   4. In the “search term” line, enter 009; and

   5. In the corresponding field, select “international class” from the pull-down menu.

   6. Submit Query

Please note that although the TMOG search line is specifically designed for searching particular issues of the TMOG, other search lines in TESS can be used to conduct more complex searches of individual TMOGs.

Please also note that whereas the TMOG is published each Tuesday, the TESS records for particular marks generally do not include the TMOG publication date for the mark until the following Wednesday. Hence, a search of a particular TMOG issue that is conducted on the day that issue is published may not yield any results.

Please note also that the ‘published for opposition date’ can also contain future dates! As soon as an opposition date is set, this field is populated EVEN IF IT HASN’T OCCURRED YET.

FORM FILLING AND FORM FILING: Filling out the trademark application form is just one small step of a process for achieving A Strong Trademark through registration. Not Just Patents® Legal Services does NOT take the position that following quick easy instructions or SAME DAY SERVICE will actually result in a strong trademark registration. Many, many trademark applications (about half) result in no federal trademark registration rights because the application did not support a registration. A federal registration on the Principal Register is not just a certificate that is obtained by filling out a form and paying fees, it is a property right (once granted) establishing not only legal rights but also legal liabilities.

Read the disclaimer that the typical form filling service has on their web page-they say that using their service is not a substitute for obtaining good legal advice.

We suggest our service and our method: Not Just Patents Five-Step Verification as part of a Plan for A Successful Trademark:

To Verify a potential trademark is strong, available to use, and ready to register, the process should be more than a direct hit federal search. To maximize the commercial strength and minimize the weaknesses of a trademark, a potential trademark user should:

1) Verify Inherent Strength,

2) Verify Right to Use,

3) Verify Right to Register,

 4) Verify the potential mark (as currently used) Functions As A Mark, and

5) Verify that the Goods and Services ID is both the correct and the maximum claim that are user can make and verify that the Goods and Services ID meets USPTO requirements before filing.

(*We don’t stop here but this is a good start. Call us if you want to plan for a strong mark.)

Call us at 1-651-500-7590  . We can help you to protect your trademark from infringing use. A federal registration is a very strong marketing tool and with it you can stop others from taking away your success.


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Call 1-651-500-7590 or email WP@NJP.legal for Responses to Office Actions; File or Defend an Opposition or Cancellation; Trademark Searches and Applications; Send or Respond to Cease and Desist Letters.

For more information from Not Just Patents, see our other sites:      

Steps to a Patent    How to Patent An Invention

Should I Get A Trademark or Patent?

Trademark e Search    Strong Trademark     Enforcing Trade Names

Common Law Trademarks  Trademark Goodwill   Abandoned Trademarks

Chart of Patent vs. Trade Secret

Patent or Trademark Assignments

Trademark Disclaimers   Trademark Dilution     TSDR Status Descriptors

Oppose or Cancel? Examples of Disclaimers  Business Cease and Desist

Patent, Trademark & Copyright Inventory Forms

Verify a Trademark  Be First To File    How to Trademark Search

Are You a Content Provider-How to Pick an ID  Specimens: webpages

How to Keep A Trade Secret

State & Federal Trade Secret Laws

Using Slogans (Taglines), Model Numbers as Trademarks

Which format? When Should I  Use Standard Characters?

Opposition Pleadings    UDRP Elements    

Oppositions-The Underdog    Misc Changes to TTAB Rules 2017

How To Answer A Trademark Cease and Desist Letter

Converting Provisional to Nonprovisional Patent Application (or claiming benefit of)

Trademark Refusals    Does not Function as a Mark Refusals

Insurance Extension  Advantages of ®  ApplyTM.com

How to Respond to Office Actions

What is a Compact Patent Prosecution?

Acceptable Specimen       Supplemental Register   $224 Statement of Use

How To Show Acquired Distinctiveness Under 2(f)

Trademark-Request for Reconsideration

Why Not Just Patents? Functional Trademarks   How to Trademark     

What Does ‘Use in Commerce’ Mean?    

Grounds for Opposition & Cancellation     Cease and Desist Letter

Trademark Incontestability  TTAB Manual (TBMP)

Valid/Invalid Use of Trademarks     Trademark Searching

TTAB/TBMP Discovery Conferences & Stipulations

TBMP 113 Service of TTAB Documents  TBMP 309 Standing

Examples and General Rules for Likelihood of Confusion

USPTO Search Method for Likelihood of Confusion

Examples of Refusals for Likelihood of Confusion   DuPont Factors

What are Dead or Abandoned Trademarks?

 Can I Use An Abandoned Trademark?

Color as Trade Dress  3D Marks as Trade Dress  

Can I Abandon a Trademark During An Opposition?

Differences between TEAS and TEAS plus  

How do I Know If Someone Has Filed for An Extension of Time to Oppose?

Ornamental Refusal  Standard TTAB Protective Order

SCAM Letters Surname Refusal

What Does Published for Opposition Mean?

What to Discuss in the Discovery Conference

Descriptive Trademarks Trademark2e.com  

Likelihood of Confusion 2d  TMOG Trademark Tuesday

Acquired Distinctiveness  2(f) or 2(f) in part

Merely Descriptive Trademarks  

Merely Descriptive Refusals

ID of Goods and Services see also Headings (list) of International Trademark Classes

Register a Trademark-Step by Step  

Protect Business Goodwill Extension of Time to Oppose

Geographically Descriptive or Deceptive

Change of Address with the TTAB using ESTTA

Likelihood of confusion-Circuit Court tests

Pseudo Marks    How to Reply to Cease and Desist Letter

Not Just Patents Often Represents the Underdog

 Overcome Merely Descriptive Refusal   Overcome Likelihood Confusion

Protecting Trademark Rights (Common Law)

Steps in a Trademark Opposition Process   

Section 2(d) Refusals   FilingforTrademark.com

Zombie Trademark  

What is the Difference between Principal & Supplemental Register?

Typical Brand Name Refusals  What is a Family of Marks? What If Someone Files An Opposition Against My Trademark?

How to Respond Office Actions  

DIY Overcoming Descriptive Refusals

Trademark Steps Trademark Registration Answers TESS  

Trademark Searching Using TESS  Trademark Search Tips

Trademark Clearance Search   DIY Trademark Strategies

Published for Opposition     What is Discoverable in a TTAB Proceeding?

Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses

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