Intent-to-use filing is a method of preserving or trademarking something ahead of product launch. Even though you may not be the first to think of a creative idea, you can certainly be the first to monetize it. But the prototyping and logistics of creating that business or product may take some time to overcome. You can alleviate some of this crunchtime stress by securing the trademark beforehand.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, all you need is a “bona fide intention” to use your trademark in the future and a later filing to prove “use in commerce”.
Bona fide intention
It is all good faith assumptions here. Your sworn statement is enough to get that intent-to-use. But be careful, this process is not reserved for hoarding trademarks. If your good faith comes into question (or a competitor appeals for a review of your intention), you may have to prove that you still deserve priority for the mark. Evidence like market research, product development and steps to acquire permits may be defenses against such claims.
Use in commerce
Once your product or service is out in the market and has your mark in public view somehow, your trademark can go from this holding area of intent-to-use to actual use. There are many requirements necessary to ensure that your “use in commerce” filing goes through.
The time to file
It is important to understand your options. As we have mentioned before on our website, the clock starts ticking once you file. After the trademark offices approve your intent-to-use, you receive a Notice of Allowance (NOA) you have six months to prove “use in commerce”. Extensions may increase this as you need, but only up to four times.