There are two types of applications that may be filed in the USPTO: actual use based or intent-to-use.

Trademark Example

Whac-a-Mole
The first U.S. trademark registration for the iconic game by the Bob's Space Racers company. REGISTERED TRADEMARK 2,561,937

Trademark Fact

A "famous mark" - one that is widely recognized by the general public as a destination of the source of the goods or services of the mark's owner - is subject to a high level of protection under special federal statutes.

An application for registration is filed with the USPTO. The application includes the proposed mark and a description of the goods or services associated with the mark.

An actual use-based application is filed if the mark has already been put in use in interstate commerce. It states the date of first use along with the mark and a description of goods and services on which the mark is used. A specimen or actual sample of the goods showing use of the mark is also filed with the application.

An intent-to-use application is filed if the mark is not yet in use but the owner has decided to put the mark in use in the near future. An intent-to-use application includes a sworn statement that states the applicant has a real intention to use the mark in commerce. The applicant does not need to file a specimen or actual sample of the goods showing use of the mark until the application is allowed by the USPTO.

Once filed, an application may take several months or more to be examined. In addition to examining the application for conformance to various registration requirements, an examining attorney compares the proposed mark with registrations for the same or similar marks that include a similar identification of goods or services. The examining attorney will allow the application to proceed to registration if there are no registrations for confusingly similar marks. A certificate of registration is issued when all of the registration requirements have been met.