To register a trademark you have to be actively using the mark or have a real intent to to use the mark.
With an “intent to use” you are “reserving” the mark for when you are going to start using it. You are putting others on notice that you intend to use the mark for certain goods or services in the future. If you are actually using the mark and file on that basis, the process will be a little faster.
Right after the publication period concludes, you will proceed right to the actual registration of the mark. If you file based on intent to use, there are a few more steps.
After publication, you will receive something from the Trademark Office called a Notice of Allowance. This notice says that your mark survived the opposition period after it was published in the Official Gazette (that publication period) so it is technically allowed.
However, you now need to show use of the mark in commerce to actually get it registered. You will have an initial deadline of six months from the issuance of the Notice of Allowance, to demonstrate use of the mark. But you may request extensions in six-month increments for up to three years.
To do this you file a document called a Statement of Use, which provides evidence that you are using the mark in commerce.
- This can include marketing or sales materials, product lists, ecommerce sites;
- tags, labels, packaging for goods;
- advertising, marketing , websites, for services
This will all be publicly available, so be careful about what you disclose.
Recap: You can “reserve” a trademark with an “Intent to Use.” To actually get the mark registered you have to show some use of the mark in commerce.