What is a use-based trademark application?

A trademark application must always identify whether the mark has already been used on the goods or services. One common problem is that trademark filers think their mark has been used when, in fact, the opposite is true. The question of whether a trademark has actually been used can be surprisingly technical. So, let’s cover the requirements of a use-based trademark application.

Section 1(a) vs. Section 1(b)

Each trademark application must identify a filing basis. Unless the application is based on a foreign trademark registration, the applicant must indicate whether the mark has been used on the goods or services identified in the application.

To determine whether a trademark qualifies under Section 1(a) basis of actual use, a careful analysis of the following factors should be made prior to filing.

  • What are the goods or services identified in the application?
  • Have the goods been sold in connection with the mark?
  • Has the mark been sufficiently used on the goods? Do you have acceptable specimens of use for the goods that are not advertising or marketing materials?
  • Have the services actually been rendered to customers or clients?
  • Do you have acceptable specimens of use for the services?

Can you change a use-based trademark application to an Intent-To-Use?

Suppose you file a use-based trademark application with some original specimens. About 6-9 months later, the USPTO rejects your specimens. You search for substitute specimens during the relevant time period, and can’t find anything suitable. Can you change your trademark filing basis?

Yes, you can amend a Section 1(a) trademark application to a Section 1(b). In doing so, you will eventually need to create new specimens and put those specimens into use.

For example, suppose apply for restaurant services and your original specimen of a menu was rejected. You create a new menu showing the mark properly. Before you can submit the new menu as a specimen, you need to make sure the new menu has been used. In particular, actually start using and distributing your new menu to customers in your restaurant.

Need to file a use-based trademark application?

Contact experienced patent and trademark attorney Vic Lin at vlin@icaplaw.com or call (949) 223-9623 to see how we can help you save time and money by properly filing a use-based trademark application.

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Vic Lin

Startup Patent Attorney | IP Lead Partner at Innovation Capital Law Group
We align ourselves with Davids fighting Goliaths. Our registered patent attorneys work as a team to equip startups and founders with solid IP rights that facilitate funding, growth and sales. Email or call us so we can get to work on your IP: (949) 223-9623 | vlin@icaplaw.com