Intent to Use Trademark Applications

An intent to use trademark application can help to protect your business’s brand before the business has even started.

Intellectual property is a very valuable asset for many businesses. Intellectual property is your business’s brand; the name, logo, slogan, color scheme, fonts, designs, and images, just to name a few. It’s important to protect your business’s brand just like you would any other asset. Trademarks are a fantastic way to do that.

But what if you’re in the process of developing your business and your brand? You came up with a unique & perfect business name, you’ve hired a designer to make you a beautiful logo, and your amazing website is still “Coming Soon.” What can you do to protect this budding brand that will be oh-so-valuable for your future business? Trademarks do a great job at that, too.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, will only register a trademark if it is actually being used in commerce. Simply put, you need to be actively selling, marketing, promoting, or publicizing your goods or services in connection with the trademark.

But what if you want to make sure your brand is protected before you start putting it out into the world? I mean, what if someone copies your beautiful logo before you could trademark it? That’s where the intent to use application comes in.

By filing a trademark application on an intent-to-use basis, you will get up to 3 years before you need to show the USPTO that you are actually using the trademark in commerce. But it can prevent other people from applying for a trademark based on actual use if they file after you. In other words, the intent to use application gets you first in line and priority over anybody who files after. It also helps to let others know that you are staking your claim on the trademark. If somebody searches the USPTO database, your trademark will show in the results. Your pending application may be enough to scare them into coming up with a new business name. Instead if waiting until your business is officially “started,” you can file an intent to use application and get a head start on protecting your brand.

So when it comes to trademarks, the concept of “the sooner, the better” really does ring true. You don’t have to, nor should you, wait until your business is up and running before you start protecting it.