What if you haven’t started to use a trademark yet?

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Todd Fichtenberg

Under the Lanham Act, the statute that governs trademarks in the United States, a trademark is supposed to be “used in commerce” before the owner can file a registration. 15 U.S.C. § 1051(a). This is known as a “Section 1(a)” application. But what happens if you have an idea but you’re waiting for your business paperwork to be completed or for the product you’re going to sell to be manufactured? 

In these circumstances, you can file an “intent to use” application, which is also called a “Section 1(b)” application. To file such an application, you must have a “bona fide intention, under circumstances showing the good faith of such person, to use a trademark in commerce.” 15 U.S.C. § 1051(b). 

Filing a Section 1(b) intent to use application requires additional filings within six months of receiving a Notice of Allowance. You are also permitted to file a request for a six-month extension for those filings, as long as you still have a bona fide intention to use the trademark in commerce. You may request a total of five of these extensions, but if the required filings are not made within 3 years of the Notice of Allowance, your trademark will be abandoned. 

Contact your trademark attorney at Allison L. Harrison Law, LLC to help you navigate the timing and filing requirements of an intent to use Section 1(b) trademark applications.  

Please note that the information contained in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and not as specific legal advice. The facts of your situation may differ from this general information. It is not intended to and does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship. 

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