What is the use-in-commerce basis?

Photo of Tomas Orsula

Written by Tomas Orsula

Senior Trademark Attorney

The "use-in-commerce" basis refers to one of the possible grounds for filing a trademark application with a trademark office. It indicates that the applicant is seeking trademark registration based on actual and bona fide use of the mark in commerce.

In some countries, including the United States, trademark applications can be filed on either an "intent-to-use" basis or a "use-in-commerce" basis. When filing on an intent-to-use basis, the applicant declares a bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce in the future but has not yet commenced actual use of the mark. This allows the applicant to secure a priority filing date and begin the registration process while they prepare to launch the goods or services associated with the mark.

On the other hand, filing on a use-in-commerce basis means that the applicant has already started using the mark in commerce in connection with the goods or services specified in the application. The applicant must provide evidence of the actual commercial usage of the mark, such as sales records, advertisements, packaging samples, or other materials that demonstrate the mark's use and association with the goods or services in the marketplace.

Choosing between the use-in-commerce and intent-to-use basis depends on the specific circumstances and stage of business development. If the mark is already being used in commerce, filing on a use-in-commerce basis can provide immediate protection and potentially expedite the registration process. If the mark is not yet in use but there is a bona fide intention to use it, filing on an intent-to-use basis can secure the priority filing date and allow the applicant to start the registration process.

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