Jump Ahead of Competitors: File a Trademark Application BEFORE You Launch a Product or Business

Dec 16, 2019 | Best Protection Practices, Trademarks

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) offers a way that you can jump ahead of your competition and own the rights to the name of a business and/or product well before its launch. Because there are distinct advantages for the business that “gets there first” under trademark law, savvy business owners should seize this opportunity.

File your trademark as soon as you can.

It is best to file a trademark application as early as possible. Even if you think it is going to be several years before you start using the mark, you can file an application now to help secure rights in your mark before others do so. While you must truly intend to use the mark at some point in the future, filing early can help avoid problems with other parties that might begin use of a similar mark before you are able to.

You can increase your priority significantly.

When a business receives a registration for the mark, the priority date will be set as of the filing date of the intent to use application. Had the business not filed an intent to use application, the priority date would be the date the business first used the mark in connection with the goods and/or services. Therefore, a business can gain three and half to four years in priority merely by filing a trademark application. So, if a competitor starts using a similar mark after you filed your application, but before you started using your mark, you may be able to stop them once your registration issues.

Save money.

Filing an intent to use application may save you money.

Many savvy businesses, especially ones that launch several products a year, use it to save money on advertising and packaging costs. These companies do not move forward with packaging and ad campaigns until the applications have made it successfully through the examination and opposition processes at the USPTO.

For example, the USPTO examining attorney may refuse your registration of your mark reasons (e.g., it is descriptive of the goods/services with which it is associated or it is confusingly similar to another mark). Also, a competitor may seek to oppose registration of your mark because if it believes your mark is confusingly similar to its own mark. Overcoming the denial and/or responding to the opposition may cost several thousands of dollars.

However, if your company has not yet launched its product and has not, therefore, spent lots of money in advertising and packaging, it can make the decision to drop the application and avoid significant losses. Additionally, should the business lose the fight with the USPTO or the opposing party, money will not be spent on changing the name, and the business will not have to face all of the difficult issues that go along with transitioning customers.

Contact a trademark attorney and file today!