When filing a federal trademark registration application, you must indicate whether the mark is already used in commerce (“use in commerce”) or you intend to use the mark in commerce in the future (“intent to use”).
What is “use-in-commerce” in a trademark registration application?
A “use-in-commerce” basis occurs when the trademark is being used in the sale or transport of goods, or the rendering of services in “interstate” commerce between more than one state. For services, the mark must be used in the sale or advertising of the services.
For trademark applications filed under the use-in-commerce basis, you must be using the trademark in the sale or transport of goods or the rendering of services in “interstate” commerce between more than one state or U.S. territory, or in commerce between the U.S. and another country. For goods, the mark must appear on the goods (e.g., tags or labels), the container for the goods, or displays associated with the goods. For services, the mark must be used in the sale or advertising of the services.
If a trademark is not yet used in commerce, then you may consider filing an “intent to use” application.
What is an “intent-to-use” trademark application?
If you have not yet used the mark but plan to do so in the future, you may file based on a good faith or bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce. A bona fide intent to use the mark is more than an idea and less than market ready. For example, having a business plan, creating sample products, or performing other initial business activities may reflect a bona fide intent to use the mark.