Trademark First-To-File Countries—Is The U.S. One of Them?

Trademark Registration Trademark First-To-File Countries—Is The U.S. One of Them?

Trademark First-To-File Law—Is It Active in the U.S.?

When you come up with an ideal trademark for your small business, it’s essential to protect it from infringement. To prevent other people from using your business name, slogan, or logo, you must possess ownership of it.

Is it enough to use the mark in your business to consider it yours? Does the registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grant you the ownership? What are the trademark first-to-file and first-to-use principles? Solve all these dilemmas by reading through our guide! We will also help you figure out how to use DoNotPay to make your trademark application a breeze.

Trademark First-To-Use vs. First-To-File

All countries determine trademark ownership based on one of two principles:


  1. First-to-use
  2. First-to-file

To help you understand both principles, we explained them in more detail in the table below:

Concept Explanation
First-to-use The trademark ownership is assigned to the person who starts using the mark in their business first. If the individual or a company implements a particular mark first, they get priority over the people who filed for the same or similar trademark before them. The owner must always be able to show proof of using the mark for business purposes if necessary
First-to-file In first-to-file countries, exclusive rights to a particular trademark are assigned to the person who submits a trademark application first. In such cases, it does not matter if someone else has already been using the same or similar idea as long as they have not registered it as a state or federal trademark. Most countries in the world define trademark ownership according to this principle

Does the U.S. Belong to the Trademark First-To-File Countries?

No—all U.S. states acknowledge the first-to-use trademark concept. The mark ownership always goes to the person who first implements the idea for commercial/business use.

Do You Need To Register a Trademark in a First-To-Use Country?

No laws impose a mandatory trademark registration.

If you started using a particular mark first, you already have common law ownership and can use the idea in your geographic area. It is still highly recommended to file a trademark with the USPTO for various reasons, such as:

  • Ability to use the mark beyond your area/state borders
  • Prevention from unauthorized use of the particular idea
  • Rights to sue a person who violates the trademark protection law

What Steps Does the USPTO Trademark Registration Involve?

If you decide to register your business assets as trademarks, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Do a USPTO trademark search and ensure no one has registered the same or even similar idea before
  2. Assign a specific trademark class to your products—You can choose one or multiple classes from a 45-category range
  3. Opt for a use-in-commerce or an intent-to-use application—The first one applies to the marks that have already been in use, while the second should be filed for those that are yet to be used in the future
  4. Pay the application fees—They depend on the filing method you choose
  5. Submit a trademark application form to the USPTO online along with the supporting items, such as trademark description or a specimen

How About Speeding Up Your Trademark Application Process With DoNotPay?

Many trademark applications end up rejected for various reasons. In most cases, the mark owners forget to include crucial details in the forms, disclose inaccurate info, or choose the wrong trademark class. It is always possible to hire an attorney to help with the process, but not everyone can afford their astronomical fees.

This is where DoNotPay enters the scene! Our app offers the most affordable solution for filing a trademark without a hitch. Once we get all the necessary trademark info from you, we will:

  • Check the originality of your idea
  • Submit an application with the USPTO on your behalf

This way, you can skip expensive legal services and deliver an error-free application form effortlessly!

How To Apply for a Trademark With DoNotPay

Here are the prompts you should follow to file a trademark application with our app:

  1. Visit DoNotPay and go to Trademark Registration
  2. Disclose some essential info about your trademark, including:
    1. Detailed description of the mark
    2. Type and class
    3. Other important details
  3. Provide specific evidence if you have already used the mark for commercial purposes
  4. Pay the filing fees

Besides completing and sending the application form in your name, DoNotPay will also help you track the progress of your request via a special tracking code. We will provide the USPTO with your email address so that they can contact you once they decide if they will approve your application!

Do not forget to check out our learning base for more trademark guides! We can teach you all about trademark duration, differences between trademarks, copyrights, and service marks, and much more!

DoNotPay Goes the Extra Mile

Our app has much more to offer—products that will protect and elevate your business.

Count on DoNotPay when you want to:

Simplify Processes Solve Issues
  • 83(b) election form submission
  • Business loan application
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) registration

Keep Your Company Safe

For your business to thrive, you need to be prepared for any problem that may come your way. This is where DoNotPay comes in! We can help you trademark your company name and even the logo or slogan. To avoid any copyright infringement issues in the future, you can use our app to register your DMCA agent. If you are worried about your clients’ privacy, we will be glad to assist you in getting into the Privacy Shield program.

Are there any negative reviews online slandering your company? DoNotPay can help you get rid of fake comments potentially hurting your business.

As it all comes down to communication, we have developed a feature to help you reach your employees, associates, or clients the easy way. At no additional cost and no post office visit necessary, our AI-powered app can both fax and mail letters and documents.


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