The USPTO does not want to award the right to an exclusive trademark to an individual/company that does not actually plan on using that trademark. Indeed, trademark squatting is something the USPTO wants to avoid at all costs and therefore requires applicants of the ITU application to provide a sworn statement in the application that the applicant does, in fact, have a real and good faith intention of using the mark in commerce in the future.
What is an Intent to Use Trademark Application?
Remember, a Trademark is a source identifier. It is a name, logo, and/or slogan that when attached to a good or service and is sold in commerce, anchors a company’s branding asset to a piece of merchandise/service. Critically, one cannot obtain a trademark unless the name/logo/slogan is used in conjunction with a good that it is actually being sold in commerce in a meaningful way. The USPTO refers to this sort of “Meaningful” sale as a “bonafide” sale and necessarily precludes mere “token” sales of goods/services. For example, I could not simply attach my company’s logo to the label of a t-shirt, sell this one t-shirt to a friend in California, and reasonably claim that the mark is now in “use in commerce.” What then can a Startup company do to protect its branding assets before the business starts making sales? Welcome to the Intent To Use (ITU) Application.
Section 1(b) of the Lanham Act, 15.U.S.C. § 1051(b) states that “…person who has a bona fide intention, under circumstances showing the good faith of such person, to use a trademark in commerce may request registration of its trademark.”
Simply, the ITU application provides trademark applicants (who have a real intent to use the mark) with a place-holder status on the desired trademark before the mark is actually “in use”. The applicant is effectively instructing the USPTO the following; “I fully intend to use this mark (name/logo/slogan) in commerce in the future but while I am not currently using the mark in commerce, I would like to make sure that no one else can use it for my goods/service while I am gearing up for launch.” Thus, the applicant receives the crucial benefit of an early priority date on the trademark without it having to actually exist in the marketplace. Trademark Registration can be easy with a Top Trademark Lawyer.