When Should I Apply for Federal Protection of My Trademark?
There is no specific deadline to file an application for federal trademark protection. Applications for registration of a mark may be filed three or more years before a mark is actually put to use in commerce (i.e., by way of an application filed on an intent to use basis), to several years after use of a mark has commenced, (i.e., by way of an application based on actual use). Filing an application early has advantages. One important advantage is to obtain a filing priority date before other potential applicants for the same or similar mark. Filing an application based on an intent to use can be a very useful strategy to attempt to secure a trademark early; this filing basis has the potential to allow an applicant three years to put a mark to use once the application has been approved, so long as extension filings are timely filed at each six-month interval.