What is the difference between “use in commerce” and “intent to use”?

“Use in commerce” and “intent to use” are two terms used in trademark law that describe different stages in the process of obtaining a trademark registration. Understanding the difference between these two terms is important for anyone who is considering applying for a trademark.

“Use in commerce” refers to the actual use of a trademark in connection with the sale of goods or services. In order to be eligible for trademark registration, a trademark must be used in commerce. This means that the trademark must be used in connection with the sale of goods or services, and that use must be in the ordinary course of trade. The trademark must also be distinctive and not confusingly similar to any other existing trademarks.

“Intent to use” refers to a situation where a company has not yet begun to use a trademark, but has a good faith intention to use the trademark in the future. In order to apply for a trademark under an “intent to use” basis, a company must demonstrate that it has a bona fide intention to use the trademark in commerce in the near future. This is often done by filing a declaration with the trademark office, stating that the company has a good faith intention to use the trademark in commerce.

In conclusion, “use in commerce” refers to the actual use of a trademark in connection with the sale of goods or services, while “intent to use” refers to a company’s good faith intention to use a trademark in the future. Understanding the difference between these two terms is important for anyone who is considering applying for a trademark.