You did it! You took the first steps in starting your business and are working towards trademarking your logo, name or slogan for your goods or services.
Protecting your brand is a critical part of distinguishing your business from competitors. It helps create recognition of your business and is important to building your reputation. Many businesses owners understand the importance of protecting their business’ identity through a trademark but oftentimes can run into confusion during the application process.
Knowing which application you need can help you avoid mistakes that could cost you money and time.
What is the difference between an “in use” and an “intent-to-use” trademark application?
An “in use” application requires the submission of a specimen proving you are currently using the mark in commerce. An “in use” application is examined in three to four months and, if allowed, gets published for 30 days so anyone opposed to the registration can make their position known. If no one opposes the application, a Registration will issue.
An “intent-to-use” application follows the same process as the “in use” application but you do not submit a specimen alleging use and, if allowed, results in an Allowance (not a Registration). You then have six months to file a Statement of Use and there is another filing fee associated with that. For additional fees, that six month deadline can be extended five times so you really have a total of three years after getting the Notice of Allowance to start using the mark and submit proof to the Trademark Office. After that 3 year deadline passes and you have not proven that you are using the mark, the application is automatically abandoned and cannot be revived. On the other hand, if a timely filed Statement of Use is accepted by the Trademark Office, then a Registration is issued.
Your application could be rejected for a whole host of reasons, some easy to solve and some that are much more complex. If you need assistance on next steps after receiving an application rejection, reach out to us to see if we can help.