How to Protect your Brand Before You Launch: The Intent to Use Application
Do you have an idea for your business but have not quite gotten it off the ground? Do you want to protect your brand but don’t know how? In the United States, protection priority is first to use, not first to file. So how do you protect your brand in the pre-launch stage? Enter the Intent to Use Application.
What is an Intent to Use Application?
An Intent to Use trademark application is the perfect way for you to protect your brand before you launch your brand. It allows you to prevent others from using your trademark or a similar trademark while you prepare to launch. Remember, you must be using your mark in commerce to obtain a trademark. With an Intent to Use application, you can file prior to use if you have a bona fide intention to use your mark in commerce. This gives you an advantage over your competitors by giving you an earlier filing date should any legal conflicts arise.
How do I qualify for Intent to Use status?
To qualify to file an Intent to Use application, you must allege a bona fide intention to use your mark in commerce. While you do not have to allege any actual use at this time, you do need more than an idea. You definitely can’t file an Intent to Use application for revenge purposes. You can always schedule a call to see if your mark qualifies for Intent to Use status.
When will I need to claim use in commerce?
Your Intent to Use application will go through the same review process as an In Use application, except that you are not required to submit proof of use at the time you file. You will receive a Notice of Allowance if the Examining Attorney approves your application for publication and no objections are filed. You have six months from issuing the Notice of Allowance to file a Statement of Use, aka proof of use in commerce, or an extension if you need additional time. You can file an extension every six months for up to three years.
When should I apply?
Once you’ve determined the goods and services the trademark will be associated with and have a bona fide intent to use the trademark, you should make protecting your trademark a priority. If you are ready to protect your brand before launching, we are here for you. In the meantime, come back next month to learn about the benefits of the federal copyright registration process.