The Risk of 'Intent to Use Applications' in Trademark Law
Trademark owners who apply for “intent-to-use (ITU) applications” are at risk of losing trademark rights if the identification of goods and services with the intent to use application are broader than the actual intended use of the trademark. A recent case emphasized that applying for a larger application than is actually used is not always a wise idea.
This case, Kelly Services v. Creative Harbor, emphasized that potential plans for use of a trademark will be excluded from registration when challenged. Instead, the application must be able to demonstrate that more than an intention to reserve a right in the trademark exists. In “ITU” applications for a trademark like in this case, individuals often require the assistance of particularly skilled legal counsel.
Trademark applications can be filed under several types of basis, but the two most common filing bases are having a bona fide intent to use a trademark as well as actual use of a trademark in the course of interstate commerce.