Since this question comes up quite a bit, we thought we would post our answer to an online submission from a ways back.
Q: Can I have an ‘actual use’ application converted to an ‘intent to use’ application?: I filed an ‘actual use’ trademark application, thinking that the way I used the trademark was sufficient to be considered actual use. (Yes, I know I should have had a trademark attorney file the application.) Anyway, as it turns out, I have found out that I am not yet using it in a way that qualifies to be considered ‘actual use.’ So the question: Is it possible for a trademark attorney to have my ‘actual use’ application converted to an ‘intent to use’ application? Or do I have to start over, just filing a new intent to use application? Thank you!
TKLG’s answer: Yes, you can convert a use based application (Section 1a) to an intent-to-use application (Section 1b). Look up the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) online and then look at Section 806.03(c) Amendment From §1(a) to §1(b). It explains everything in detail and I have copied and pasted it below. Keep in mind, however, that this often times does not solve the problem because the issue is usually more substantive. You really should speak with a tm lawyer to sort this out. It takes many months to get an application through to registration and if you have to start over you want to do it sooner rather than later. Best of luck and here is the text of TMEP Section 806.03(c):
If a §1(a) basis fails, either because the specimens are unacceptable or because the mark was not in use in commerce when the application was filed, the applicant may substitute §1(b) as a basis. The Office will presume that the applicant had a continuing valid basis, because the applicant had at least a bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce as of the application filing date. 37 C.F.R. 2.35(b)(3).
When amending from §1(a) to §1(b), the applicant must submit a verified statement that the applicant has had a bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce on or in connection with the goods/services since the application filing date. 15 U.S.C. 1051(b)(3)(B); 37 C.F.R. 2.34(a)(2).
See TMEP §806.03(j) regarding amendment of the basis after publication.