What Is a Bona Fide Intent to Use a Mark in Commerce?

If you have a great idea for a brand name, logo, slogan, or any other type of trademark, you might be tempted to file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as soon as possible, even if you are not ready to use the mark in commerce yet. After all, you want to secure your rights and prevent others from using your mark, right?

Well, not so fast. Before you file a trademark application, you need to understand the concept of a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce and why it is important for your trademark registration process.

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If you have a great idea for a brand name, logo, slogan, or any other type of trademark, you might be tempted to file an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as soon as possible, even if you are not ready to use the mark in commerce yet. After all, you want to secure your rights and prevent others from using your mark, right?

Well, not so fast. Before you file a trademark application, you need to understand the concept of a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce and why it is important for your trademark registration process.

What is a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce?

A bona fide intent is a legal requirement that applies to trademark applicants who file their applications based on an intent-to-use basis under Section 1 (b) of the Trademark Act. This means that the applicant has not actually used the mark in commerce yet, but they have a good faith and genuine intention to do so in the near future.

A bona fide intent to use the mark means that the applicant has more than just a mere idea or hope to use the mark someday. The applicant must have concrete plans and evidence to support their intention, such as:

  • Product or service development

  • Market research

  • Manufacturing or distribution agreements

  • Marketing or advertising materials

  • Licensing or franchising arrangements

  • Business plans or budgets

The USPTO may request the applicant to provide such evidence during the examination process or after the issuance of a Notice of Allowance. The applicant must also submit a Statement of Use with actual proof of actual use of the mark in commerce before the mark can be registered.

Why does bona fide intent matter?

The Bona fide intent matters because it is a legal obligation that the applicant must fulfill and maintain throughout the trademark registration process. If the applicant fails to show or prove their bona fide intent, their application may be rejected or canceled by the USPTO or challenged by third parties.

Some of the reasons why an applicant may lack bona fide intent to use mark in commerce are:

  • The applicant filed the application for speculative or defensive purposes, such as blocking others from using the mark or reserving the mark for future sale.

  • The applicant filed the application for multiple goods or services that are unrelated or unrealistic for their business.

  • The applicant filed the application without conducting proper trademark clearance or research.

  • The applicant abandoned or delayed their plans to use the mark in commerce.

These reasons may indicate that the applicant is not serious or sincere about using the mark in commerce and is trying to abuse or misuse the trademark system. Such behavior may harm the public interest and the rights of other legitimate trademark owners or users.

Therefore, it is essential that trademark applicants have a bona fide intent to use mark in commerce when they file their applications and be prepared to demonstrate it if required. Otherwise, they may risk losing their trademark rights and wasting their time and money.

How can The Trademark Place help you with your trademark application?

If you need help with filing a trademark application based on an intent-to-use basis, you can consult with The Trademark Place, a trademark law firm that specializes in trademark registration and protection. We can assist you with:

  • Conducting a comprehensive trademark search and clearance

  • Preparing and filing your trademark application with the USPTO

  • Responding to any office actions or requests from the USPTO

  • Submitting your Statement of Use and proof of use of your mark in commerce

  • Monitoring and enforcing your trademark rights against infringers

We have extensive experience and knowledge in trademark law and can guide you through every step of the trademark registration process. Contact us today for a free consultation and quote.