What is the Trademark Statement of Use?
A Statement of Use (SOU) is an official form that is available from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. You cannot file this form until your business has begun using a trademark, which is intended so you can’t register a trademark as a means to hold it or tie it up, and which requires it to be used for commerce reasons. There are many ways to prove use of a trademark, such as displaying it on packaging, marketing tools, or products.
If your trademark was filed on the basis of an intent to use it, you will need to file an SOU to show that you are indeed using the trademark to sell your services or goods. If you aren’t yet ready for the filing of the SOU, you must file a Request for Extension of Time to File a Statement of Use no later than six months after you were issued a Notice of Allowance. You can file extensions every six months after being issued your Notice of Allowance. Extensions will not be granted after 36 months.
What’s the Importance of a Trademark Statement of Use?
If you fail to file the SOU, your application for a trademark won’t be approved and finalized. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will not include trademarks in its official publication unless they are being used actively. This will help lessen the possibility of confusion if there are multiple trademarks being registered, but not used.
If you are not yet ready to start using a trademark for commerce reasons, you shouldn’t file the SOU since you must provide evidence that shows your trademark is already being used. The SOU follows the specimen sample and the Notice of Allowance. A specimen is an example of your trademark in a photograph showing that it is being used on the products that you are selling. A photo of a decorative element doesn’t count, but the small logo placed on the left breast of a shirt creates a commercial impression.
If selling services is how your business operates, you will need to upload a photo that shows how you use the trademark to advertise the services you provide. It might be used on stationary, business cards, a brochure promoting your business, business sign, or on your website. There is a 30-day opposition period that allows the public the opportunity to claim that trademark you intend to use is infringing on the trademark of someone else or that it is too much like an existing trademark that is actively used in commerce already.
Filing the Statement of Use
There is a $200 fee for filing a Statement of Use form if you file it by paper through postal mail. If you use an online form and do the filing online, it is $100 per class. You will file the SOU within six months after the issue of your Notice of Allowance then you file an SOU between the fifth and sixth year after your registration date. You will file the SOU through TEAS on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. There will be an electronic “success” page to confirm receipt.
If you or your business is in need of help determining which aspects of your business need protection or how to go about doing so, then you need the help of an experienced intellectual property attorney like those at Fears Nachawati.
The team of intellectual property lawyers at Fears Nachawati can explain every aspect of the process and help identify which aspects of your business or idea are most in need of protection, whether through trademark, patent, or copyright. A concrete plan of action to protect your intellectual property can be one of the best contributors to the success of your business.
Don’t wait to legally protect your intellectual property. Schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our team by calling at (866) 705-7584, or by visiting the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.