Receiving a Notice of Allowance is an exciting step in the trademark registration journey. It means that the US Patent & Trademark Office has reviewed the application and determined that you are entitled to federal protection. Additionally it means that there are no third parties who will get in the way and oppose your registration. But there’s still one more step before you will receive the registration.
You must prove that you are actively using your trademark to sell goods or advertise services. The USPTO doesn’t allow people to tie up rights to a mark without ever actually using it. In other words, you need to show the Trademark Office exactly how you’re using your mark in commerce.
The Statement of Use is a sworn declaration that your trademark is currently in use in commerce in connection with all of the products and/or services listed in your trademark application. In addition to swearing that you are using the goods or services, you must state the date of first use anywhere and the date of first use in commerce. You must also submit proof of use of the mark by submitting a “specimen of use” within six (6) months of the Notice of Allowance.
Examples of a proper proof of use for a good (an actual tangible item) include:
- Instruction manuals
- Photographs of the product itself
- Point of sale display
Examples of the proper proof of use for a service include:
- Screenshot from your website
- Business card
- Advertising material
- Photograph of the front of your brick and mortar business
If you cannot submit your Statement of Use within those six months, you may obtain an additional six months by filing a request for an extension of time (with payment of an additional fee) for an additional 6 months, up to five times before you absolutely must submit your Statement of Use. By filing an extension of time, you can buy yourself an extra two and a half years from receipt of the Notice of Allowance. If you fail to file your Statement of Use or fail to request an extension in a timely manner, your application will be abandoned.
If you have any questions about what constitutes a good proof of use, or what a Notice of Allowance means for your trademark, please do not hesitate to contact us.