Trademark a Name: Intent to Use Trademark Application
The recent death of Trayvon Martin once again highlights the importance of timely filing an intent to use trademark application for any name or slogan you wish to secure exclusive rights in and enforce against others. Intent to use trademark applications for I AM TRAYVON and JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON were filed by family for use in connection with DVD related goods. Feelings or opinions related to the underlying incident aside, there is a trademark lesson here.
Filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) pursuant to Section 1(b) allows the applicant to secure priority rights over a name or slogan the applicant has a bona fide intent to use in connection with particular goods or services, so long as the applicant does indeed make an actual use of the name or slogan in interstate commerce. Your failure to proactively file for trademark protection can allow someone else to file and establish priority rights. The United States remains a first to use jurisdiction, but the first to file is essentially given a statutory exception so long as use occurs within a proscribed amount of time of filing the intent to use trademark.