Anybody who believes a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) should not be registered, can file a trademark opposition. A trademark opposition is a proceeding before the trademark trial and appeal board that allows the opposing party to argue that a particular trademark application's registration would harm them. There are various basis for a trademark opposition, such as priority and likelihood of consumer confusion, fraud, or other reasons. While a trademark opposition proceeding, which commences with a notice about opposition, can become a resource intensive endeavor, there are other ways for potential opposing parties to try and resolve trademark disputes.
In particular, rather than filing a notice of opposition, one may file a request for extension of time to oppose a trademark application. Anyone may do so as a matter of right and get a thirty day extension to the statutory thirty day opposition period. During that time, the entity who believes it may be harmed can try to contact the trademark applicant and resolve the matter amicably. This may require abandonment of the trademark application, disclaimer of certain portions of the trademark application, or other terms. Nonetheless, filing an extension of time to oppose a trademark application lets the trademark applicant know that there is a potential issue and that you are serious. In the event that you choose not ultimately oppose, or otherwise have resolved the matter, you will not be stuck in an opposition proceeding.
The trademark attorney can advise someone who feels a trademark will harm them of the legalities associated with an extension of time to oppose, a trademark opposition, and related trademark matters. Should you discover a pending trademark application with the USPTO that is soon to be or is in the opposition period, you would be well served discussing your options with a trademark lawyer. Should time become a concern, you should recognize that an extension of time to oppose a trademark application is always a good option to consider.