You don’t have to launch in order to secure your trademark. The USPTO offers two application types that gives you the opportunity to secure your trademark whether you are currently building the brand or plan to launch a new brand.
Types of applications: (1) In Use and (2) Intent to Use
What is an 'in use' trademark application?
An 'in use' trademark application allows a business owner to register a trademark that is currently being used for the services and products offered under their brand. To qualify for an 'in use' application, the trademark must be actively used in commerce - meaning it is placed on products, associated with services, or used in advertising. The products or services bearing the trademark must also be sold or transported across state lines.
When a company files an 'in use' application, they must submit proof of use of the trademark. This is usually done by providing labels, tags, advertising, brochures, screenshots, or photographs showing the trademark in use.
The main benefit of an 'in use' application is securing federal registration rights for a trademark already associated with an existing business. Registration provides nationwide legal protection and puts other parties on notice of ownership of the mark.
An 'in use' application is best suited for businesses ready to register trademarks tied to their current products or services. It allows them to protect brands they have already built value and recognition around in the marketplace. It's like putting a nationwide protection spotlight on your brand, telling everyone, "This is mine, and no one else's."
What is an 'intent to use' trademark application?
An 'intent to use' trademark application allows a company to register a trademark before the mark is actively being used in commerce. This type of application is specifically for founders who are in the early stages of developing their business and brand, but are not yet ready to launch products or services using the trademark.
Now, when filing this type of application, you must have a bona fide intent to use the trademark. You cannot file an 'intent to use' application just to prevent someone else from filing - you’ll face punishment for bad faith filing. (It’s a different thing if you later change your mind) With an 'intent to use' application, a startup can reserve the exclusive rights to a brand name, logo, slogan, or other trademark asset. This gives the business filing priority over any later entities that may try to use an identical or confusingly similar mark.
The key benefit of an 'intent to use' application is that it lets a company clear a trademark early on, before investing significant time and resources into establishing the brand. The application preserves the rights to a mark during the development stages, providing peace of mind.
Benefits of an 'Intent to Use' Application
Filing an 'intent to use' application provides several key benefits for startups and companies preparing to launch a new brand or product line.
Once an intent to use application is filed, the applicant has priority over anyone else who files an application for an identical or similar mark from that date forward. This prevents competitors or other parties from swooping in and registering your desired brand name before you have a chance to launch your products or services under that mark.
This gives companies the freedom to invest in and build out their brand, knowing that their intellectual property rights are secured.
At the Law Office of Aleece McKnight, we specialize in trademark law and work with clients across the United States. Our experienced trademark attorney can help you decide which strategy is best for your brand and guide you through the trademark filing process.
Ready to secure your brand's future? Contact the Law Office of Aleece McKnight to work one-on-one with an attorney who understands trademark law inside and out. Let's protect your brand together!
Legal Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information provided should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultation with a qualified attorney regarding your specific situation.