Watching the morning news for even a few minutes can leave one struck by how we truly live in uncertain times. I suppose every generation has too, but is it more striking at this moment?

There are plenty of examples to draw upon to evidence the many uncertainties in our world, spanning extreme weather, politics, financial markets, safety, legal decisions, among others.

The field of trademark law is no stranger to uncertainty either. You will recall we wrote about Yes, No, and the Ever Confusing Maybe earlier this year, following our seventh anniversary.

The trademark clearance process can be particularly difficult to navigate, given the ever increasing crowdedness of the marketplace, our rapidly shrinking world, and the ease of trademark filings.

Necessary and appropriate preliminary and comprehensive trademark clearance searches represent imperfect snap shots of the trademark legal landscape at a particular point in time.

What many fail to appreciate is how quickly an open window of trademark availability promptly can be closed by the simple third party filing of a conflicting intent-to-use trademark application.

A best practice to keep in mind during the trademark clearance process is the importance of promptly filing an appropriate intent-to-use trademark application immediately after receiving the results of a successful clearance opinion; doing so maximizes the value of the investment in the search and minimizes the risk of intervening and conflicting third party trademark rights.

While we can’t be certain that others are thinking along the same branding and trademark lines as our clients at roughly the same time, we can be certain that priority determines trademark rights, and a day can make the difference, sadly I’ve seen it happen.

Perhaps the silver lining in the kind of trademark uncertainty we face as marketing and trademark types is that we’re not talking life and death, we’re talking about going back to the drawing board.

And, sometimes going back to the drawing board even more than a few times can yield a much better and more effective name anyway.

Do you have any scars to show for your trademark clearance activities?

Have you ever been burned, not taking seriously the certainty of how time is of the essence when it comes to trademark priority?