The craft beer, wine, and spirits industries are booming, and the number of available trademarks is decreasing daily. If you wait until you are actually selling before you consider obtaining trademark protection, you run the risk that your desired mark will already be in use, applied for, or registered by someone else. Fortunately, if you are dead-set on a particular trademark for your alcohol business, you don’t have to wait until you are actually selling to register it. U.S. Trademark Law allows those who are not-yet using a mark to file an application for trademark registration based on their bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce. Filing an “intent-to-use” application allows you to claim the filing date as the date of nationwide priority to the mark. Additionally, the USPTO will tentatively refuse any later-filed applications for marks that are confusingly similar to the one you applied for. It is important that before filing an intent-to-use application, you have a legitimate, good-faith interest in using the mark, and are not applying to merely reserve an option to use the mark in the future.
For more information about this topic, contact Frank Knizner.