If you’d like to attempt to secure a trademark before you’ve actually offered your product or service for sale, you’ll want to file an Intent to Use application.
By statute, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) can only register trademarks that have actually been used in interstate commerce. But, the PTO has a process for pre-clearing marks that have not yet been used.
Filing an Intent to Use application is very similar to a standard trademark application, but once the application has been allowed, you are given six months to submit proof that the trademark has been used in commerce. Filing this Statement of Use comes with an additional fee of $100 per class of good or service for which you are registering.
Choosing to file an Intent to Use application comes with additional costs, but it can be an important and useful step – especially for a company seeking initial seed funding. Having assets, and potential assets, as well as a plan for protecting your company’s intellectual property will show investors that you are organized and serious about growing your business’ value.