A trademark statement of use is a sworn declaration that confirms your trademark application and shows that it is now actively being used in business. The declaration statement is directed to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO).
Filing the trademark statement of use not only confirms the live status of your trademark but also reduces the chances of another person stealing your brand’s identity. You’re required to file your business’s trademark statement of use approximately six months after receiving the Notice of Allowance.
Additionally, you’re required to submit it before proceeding to hand in the intent to use. In case you’re not actively using your brand, you can get a trademark filing extension to give you at least six months of additional leeway.
Some of the things that a business owner should know about the trademark statement of use include the following.
1. The Process Of Filing The Sworn Declaration
Filing this sworn statement allows you to avoid calling off your trademark rights. It shows that you are intentional and serious about doing your business and protecting your brand. You can file the trademark statement of use through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).
Some of the steps you’re required to follow when filing the trademark statement of use include the following:
- Check whether your trademark has been approved.
- Fill out the statement of use form.
- Ensure that the mark is in continuous use.
- Check whether you can comfortably present the mark in a specimen.
- Confirm that you don’t violate the Lanham Act when indulging in the processes related to the mark.
- Prepare a fee to be used for filing the statement of use.
Some of the details that you must include when filling out the form are as follows:
- The date when you first used the mark
- The date when you officially stated using the mark in business
- A specimen that shows evidence of how you’re using the mark in business
- A declaration signed by the business owner to confirm that they’ll be using the mark subsequently
Considering these filing details and meeting deadlines is critical in preventing your application from being abandoned.
2. The Importance Of Filing The Trademark Statement Of Use
Your trademark application can only be approved and finalized if you file the statement of use. The reason is that the United States Patent and Trademark Office will have no other option but to shun publishing a trademark that isn’t actively used in the official gazette.
This reduces the confusion that might come up due to having many registered trademarks that aren’t in use. So, if you’re not ready to use your trademark, it would be best to refrain from filing the statement.
Another importance of filing your statement of use is that it gives your trademark more legitimacy and protects it even before you start using it. Hence, other businesses cannot copy or adapt your brand identity as long as you’re using it.
3. The Specimen In The Statement Of Use Declaration
A specimen is a real-life graphic representation of your trademark on your goods and services. It evidences the actual use of your trademark in business. Decorative features may sometimes be rejected as specimens, so it is best to have a logo. Not only is it distinctive of your brand, but it also helps create an effective commercial impression.
If you specialize in selling services, you’d want to upload a picture showing the trademark you use to advertise your services. For instance, you can submit the following:
- Your business’s brochure
- Business sign
- A screenshot from your e-commerce website
- Business card
The most critical aspect is ensuring that the specimen shows a clear reference to your company’s goods or services, apart from showcasing your trademark.
4. The Fees Required In Filing The Sworn Declaration
The statement of use registration fees was readjusted in 2017 by USTPO. Currently, you have to pay USD$200 when paper filing through the mail. If you choose to do it the electronic way, then you need to pay a slightly lower amount of USD$100 per class. This information can help you in properly planning the entire trademark registration process.
5. The Process For Filing The Trademark Statement Of Use Extension
As highlighted earlier, you can get an extension when filing for your trademark statement of use if you won’t be using your business trademark for a while. However, to get this extension, it’s mandatory that you present a valid reason why you won’t be using your trademark.
Some reasons that you can give to justify your extension request include the following activities:
- Working on raising adequate capital
- Doing market research
- Outsourcing raw materials
- Looking out for the most appropriate business location and premises
Once you’ve provided a legitimate reason, you can complete a statement of use extension form. Also, you’re supposed to pay processing fees to the United States Trademark and Patent Office after filing the form.
When filing for an extension, make sure to be intentional about meeting the deadline. The reason is that late filing increases the chances of your trademark being abandoned. Thus, your request for an extension may be declined by USTPO. When this happens, you’re required to start from scratch.
Reapplying for your trademark can be demoralizing and taxing, so make sure to carefully follow the protocol with care. Also, a reapplication will incur the same fees that you paid the first time. Not only does this waste financial resources but also time and effort. To avoid such a situation, you should file for an extension as soon as you get the notice of allowance.
A trademark statement of use is a declaration that a business is using a particular trademark. It also confirms the trademark application. Some of the details that business owners need to be aware of regarding this sworn statement include: its importance, how to file for it, the fees required, and how to go about the request for an extension.
If you follow all the steps when filing for the trademark statement of use and meet the deadlines, then you’re sure of getting optimum trademark protection.