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Can I apply for a trademark for a mark that has not been used yet?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2023 | Trademarks

When an organization submits paperwork to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for trademark recognition, it often initiates the process because it has already used a specific image or logo as a trademark.

The company has started to advertise or expand, and there are now concerns about others trying to abuse established brand loyalty in the area. Now that the company has started to grow, its executives or owners recognize the need to protect its intellectual property and brand from bad actors. The organization will already have proof that it has used the trademark for advertising and branding purposes.

However, not every trademark sees public use before official registration. Some organizations planning to hit the ground running with a new product rollout or division may have a trademark prepared that is not yet in use. Registering a trademark might be part of the long process of establishing the brand and rolling out operations. Under these circumstances, interested parties may be wondering whether it is possible to secure a trademark for a mark not previously used in a public setting.

The intent to use the mark is sufficient

The USPTO receives applications from companies in all different stages of development and has rules for various different situations. While many applicants need to secure trademarks for a mark currently in use, the USPTO has a formal rule for marks not yet in use as well.

Applicants can request trademark protection for an original mark that they intend in good faith to use on behalf of an organization. Filing an application with an intent-to-use basis still requires much of the same paperwork and research. Additionally, there is a need for a sworn statement in the application affirming the good faith intention to do business using the trademark.

Trademark registration is crucial for brand development

The mark a company uses on its signage, packaging and websites will be a major part of its public brand. An organization needs a strong trademark that it can assertively protect so that other companies don’t infringe on the organization’s mark. Filing paperwork on an intent-to-use basis can help ensure there are trademark protections from the earliest stages of public brand development.

Investing in trademark registration and other intellectual property safety measures can help a company protect its brand against the misconduct of less scrupulous organizations, regardless of whether a particular mark has been utilized in a public setting yet or not.