Do I have to already have a product or service to register a trademark?

04 September, 2019

Not in business yet? No problem. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers two types of trademark registration applications: Actual Use, and Intent to Use. Actual Use applications are designed for registering trademarks that you’re already using in day-to-day business to identify the source of your product or service. Intent to Use applications allow you to register your mark even if you haven’t used it in commerce yet, but have a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. It’s important to note that if you can’t show an intention to use the mark in commerce from the start, your trademark application will be void. An Intent to Use application can be a good idea for entrepreneurs just starting to build their business because it automatically establishes your “constructive use” date, which establishing nationwide priority, when you file. This can give you an advantage over later applicants with similar marks. From the day you submit your application, the USPTO gives you six months to use the mark in commerce and file a Statement of Use demonstrating this. If you can prove valid reasons as to why you need more time, you can file extension requests with the USPTO in six-month increments, for up to three years.