Before you register your trademark, it’s crucial to understand one term: ‘Use’. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) insists on the actual ‘use’ of your trademark in commerce for it to register your trademark and maintain its validity. But what does ‘use in commerce’ really mean?
Unpacking the ‘Use’ in Trademark Terms
‘Use’ in trademark terms refers to your active engagement with your trademark in the course of conducting business. It’s not just about owning a name or logo; it’s about incorporating it into your business operations so customers associate the trademark with you as the source for the goods or services. Here are a few ways ‘use’ can be defined:
- Product Packaging or Service Promotion: If your trademark is on the packaging of your product or is used to promote your services, you’re in the clear.
- Sales and Transactions: If you’re selling goods or providing services under your trademark, that counts as ‘use’.
- Marketing and Advertising: Using your trademark in marketing materials, such as brochures, billboards, online ads, and social media, can be considered ‘use’.
Common Questions on Trademark Use
- Is opening a corporation or LLC enough?
Just opening an entity with the brand name is not enough for trademark use in commerce.
- Is buying a domain name enough?
Just buying a domain name that matches your trademark isn’t enough. The key is ‘active use’. If the website is fully functional, regularly updated, and conducts commercial activity under your trademark, it can be considered ‘use’.
- Is creating a prototype enough?
Using a trademark only in a limited capacity, such as on a prototype or in a test market, without actually selling or offering for sale the goods or services in connection with the trademark does not constitute use in commerce.
- If we use the brand internally is that enough?
Customers need to see your trademark use, they need to associate the trademark with your product or services. So, use of a trademark within a company, such as on employee uniforms or in internal documents, does not constitute use in commerce.
- Can I change my Facebook page name to the trademark?
Yes, you can! Changing your Facebook page name alone might not be enough, but if you put it in your Cover Photo to your trademark and actively engage with your audience under that name constitutes ‘use’.
Making the Most of Your Trademark
Now that you have a clearer understanding of trademark ‘use’, it’s time to strategically incorporate your trademark into your business operations. Whether it’s revamping your website, redesigning your product packaging, or renaming your social media profiles, every step you take to actively use your trademark not only maintains its validity but also reinforces your brand identity.
Unleashing the power of your trademark doesn’t have to be complex. By understanding what ‘use’ means and actively integrating your trademark into your business activities, you’re setting yourself up for success.
If you have questions about “using” your trademark or you are ready to start the registration process, contact us at (888) 666-0062 or click here to schedule an initial needs assessment online to discuss your situation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.