Protecting Your Ideas - Can you reserve a trademark for the future?


Yes. If you are in the planning or development stage of creating a product, you may have an idea for the product’s name that you'd like to trademark, but you don't plan to immediately offer the product to the public. The USPTO allows you to file an "intent to use" (ITU) trademark registration. Filing for an ITU doesn't establish a trademark, it reserves the trademark for future use.

Once you've reserved your ITU trademark, you must use the mark within six months to three years of filing the ITU. Once you actually use the mark in commerce, the “use” of the trademark back-dates to your ITU filing. Under most circumstances, it pays to file for an ITU if you are sure you want to use a certain trademark.