Trademark First Use Date: When is it?
The “first use” date for a trademark is the date when the trademark was first used in commerce in connection with the goods or services for which it is registered or applied for. In the United States, the first use date is important because it determines who has priority in the event of a trademark dispute.
In a Trademark Application filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) there are two types of first use dates:
- Date of First Use Anywhere: This is the date when the trademark was first used in connection with the sale or transport of goods or services in a normal business transaction that takes place anywhere in the world and is not required to be an “interstate” transport or sale.
- Date of First Use in Commerce: This is the date when the trademark was first used in connection with the sale or transport of goods or services in a manner that the U.S. Congress can lawfully regulate, such as a sale within the U.S., import into the U.S. or export from the U.S.
The first use date is often established through evidence such as sales records, advertising materials, or customer testimony. It is important to establish the first use date accurately in order to establish priority and defend the trademark against challenges by other parties.