Intent to Use trademarks ?

So you have a trademark in mind, but you’re not yet using it. Can you still file a trademark application? Of course!

If you are already using a mark, this is called, unsurprisingly, In Use. An In Use application requires disclosure of the date you first began using the mark in commerce as well as a specimen (usually a photo of the product or service offered) showing this use.

If you are not yet using a mark, you can still claim it by filing what’s called an “intent to use” application. This requires an additional filing, called a Statement of Use, when you begin using the mark, which you must do within six months of the application’s approval OR request an Extension. An Extension allows the applicant an additional six-month period to begin using the mark. Up to five of these may be requested, giving you a total of two and a half years in which to begin using your trademark.

While filing Extensions and a Statement of Use will incur further fees, the benefit of filing an Intent to Use application is that it secures your “priority date.” You have basically reserved this trademark and, unless you fail to file a Statement of Use (and/or Extensions to get you there), no one else (in the same or similar class(es)) can pull it out from under you. This is a good step to take before opening a new business or launching a new product so that you don’t end up pouring loads of money into designing/marketing/branding a name to which you may not be able to secure the rights.