Am I Required to Use My Trademark Before Receiving a USPTO Registration?
Yes, you are required to use your trademark in interstate commerce with the goods or services applied-for before the USPTO will register the trademark. In other words, you must be using the trademark in connection with the goods or services listed in your trademark application, and that use must be in the regular course of trade. This is known as “use in commerce” requirement.
However, federal law permits a trademark owner to begin the trademark application process before the trademark is in use in commerce, provided the applicant has a bona fide intention to use the trademark in commerce, and that such use can be documented within a specified period after the application is allowed (six months to begin with, with rights to extend up to 36 months in most cases). The appropriate USPTO trademark application to prepare and process before your trademark is used in the marketplace is called an intent to use (ITU) application. The ITU application process provides the advantage of getting your trademark on the record and establishing a federal priority claim at an earlier date.