Bitlaw

T.M.E.P. § 1109.09
Use in Commerce

Executive summary:

This document contains one section of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (the "TMEP"), Fourth Edition (April 2005). This page was last updated in June 2007. You may return to one either the section index, or to the key word index. If you wish to search the TMEP, simply use the search box that appears on the bottom of every page of BitLaw--be sure to restrict your search to the TMEP in the pop-up list.

For more information on trademark law, please see the Trademark Section of BitLaw.

Previous Section (§1109.08) | Next Section (§1109.10)

1109.09 Use in Commerce

The filing of a verified statement that "the mark is in use in commerce" is a minimum requirement that must be satisfied before the expiration of the statutory period for filing the statement of use. 15 U.S.C. 1051(d)(1); 37 C.F.R. 2.88(e)(3). If the examining attorney determines, before taking an action in connection with the statement of use, that the verified statement of use in commerce has been omitted, the examining attorney should refer the application to the ITU Unit for appropriate action.

An application that omits the allegation of use in commerce, but asserts a verified date of first use in commerce, is considered to be substantially in compliance with the minimum filing requirements under 37 C.F.R. 2.88(e)(3). In re Carnicon Development Company, 34 USPQ2d 1541 (Comm'r Pats. 1992); In re Conservation Technology Inc., 25 USPQ2d 1079 (Comm'r Pats. 1992). Thus, if the applicant files a statement containing a verified date of first use in commerce on or before the expiration of the period for filing the statement of use, the applicant has met minimum filing requirements. The examining attorney must nevertheless require a verified statement that the "mark is in use in commerce" before approving the statement of use. This statement may be filed after expiration of the deadline for filing the statement of use, within the period for response to the examining attorney's Office action.

An applicant is not required to specify the method of use or the type of commerce in which a mark is used. TMEP §§903.03 and 905.

1109.09(a) Dates of Use

The statement of use must include the dates of the applicant's first use of the mark and first use of the mark in commerce. 15 U.S.C. 1051(d)(1); 37 C.F.R. 2.88(b)(1)(ii). However, this is not a minimum filing requirement that must be met before the application will be referred to the examining attorney. If the dates of use are omitted from the statement of use, but the statement that "the mark is in use in commerce" is included, the dates can be supplied after the expiration of the statutory period for filing the statement of use. The applicant may also amend or correct the dates of use after the expiration of the deadline for filing the statement of use, if the applicant meets the requirements of 37 C.F.R. 2.71(c)(2). Any amendment to the dates of use must be verified. 37 C.F.R. 2.71(c).

The date of first use in commerce may not be earlier than the date of first use anywhere. TMEP §903.04.

The applicant must state dates of use for each class. The dates of first use for each class must apply to at least one item in the class but do not have to apply to more than one item. However, the applicant must have used the mark in commerce on all items listed in the notice of allowance before filing the statement of use, unless the applicant files a request to divide. TMEP §1109.03. See TMEP §§1110 et seq. regarding requests to divide.

The dates of use can be supplied after expiration of the statutory filing period; however, the applicant must make valid use of the mark in commerce on or in connection with all the goods/services in the application before the expiration of the time for filing the statement of use. 37 C.F.R. 2.71(c)(2). If the applicant attempts to amend the dates of use to state a date of first use in commerce that is later than the time permitted for filing the statement of use, the examining attorney must refuse registration because the applicant failed to make use within the time permitted, and hold the application abandoned. When refusing registration on this ground, the examining attorney should issue a regular Office action with a six-month response clause. See TMEP §1109.16(b).

1109.09(b) Specimens

The examining attorney must examine the specimen(s) to confirm that they show use of the subject matter as a mark on or in connection with the goods/services identified in the statement of use. See TMEP §§1202 and 1301.02 et seq. The examining attorney must also determine whether the mark as used on the specimens is a substantially exact representation of the mark on the drawing (see TMEP §§807.12(a) and 1109.12). The examining attorney should issue requirements and refusals, as appropriate, based on the examination of the specimens, subject to the same standards that govern the examination of specimens in initial examination. TMEP §§904 et seq.

The submission of at least one specimen with a statement of use is a statutory requirement that must be satisfied before expiration of the statutory period for filing the statement of use. 15 U.S.C. 1051(d)(1); 37 C.F.R. 2.88(e); In re Campbell, 33 USPQ2d 1055 (Comm'r Pats. 1993). If the examining attorney determines, before taking an action regarding the statement of use, that no specimen has been submitted, the examining attorney should refer the application to the ITU Unit for appropriate action.

In a multi-class application, the applicant must submit one specimen for each class of goods/services in the statement of use before the statement of use can be approved. 37 C.F.R. §§2.86(b) and 2.88(b)(2). However, only one specimen for one class is needed to comply with the minimum filing requirements. If at least one specimen is filed within the time permitted for filing the statement of use, specimen(s) for the other class(es) can be filed after the expiration of the statutory filing period, if the applicant verifies that the additional specimen(s) was in use in commerce before the expiration of the deadline for filing the statement of use. 37 C.F.R. 2.59(b).

If the applicant files at least one specimen with the statement of use, but the specimen is unacceptable, the applicant may provide a substitute specimen after the expiration of the time permitted for filing the statement of use, provided that the applicant verifies that the substitute specimen was in use in commerce before the expiration of the deadline for filing the statement of use. 37 C.F.R. 2.59(b). If the applicant does not provide an acceptable specimen that was in use in commerce before the expiration of the deadline, the examining attorney must refuse registration because the applicant failed to make use within the time permitted, and hold the application abandoned. The examining attorney should issue a regular Office action with a six-month response clause. TMEP §1109.16(b). See TMEP §1108.03 regarding the filing of an "insurance" request for an extension of time to file a statement of use in order to gain additional time to make proper use of the mark.

If the dates of first use change as a result of the submission of a new specimen, the applicant must also amend the dates of use in the statement of use. The amendment must be supported by an affidavit or declaration. 37 C.F.R. 2.71(c); TMEP §1109.09(a).

If the statement of use is filed electronically using TEAS, the applicant must submit a digitized image in .jpg format. 37 C.F.R. 2.56(d)(4). See TMEP §904.02(a) for additional information about electronically filed specimens.