What Does Date of First Use Mean?

Your trademark application should usually contain the date of first use, or first use in commerce.

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I have already done a video about what does using a trademark mean. You should watch that video because that will provide some context, but when you file an application, in some countries, you are required to state the date of first use. What that means is that you have to specify the date for which you have evidence that you can prove that you were already using that brand.

When I say "have to prove", you don't have to prove that first date to the Trademarks Office. That's not the purpose. They're going to take you for your word.

In Canada, they won't even request to see if you're currently using the brand. In the U.S., for example, when you file a trademark based on existing use, you do have to provide a specimen of use, and we have a video on that. In Canada, you don't. You just say, "I already used it."

Neither Canada nor the U.S. will check the evidence that goes back to the date that you're claiming, but if your trademark registers and you said that you have been using this brand for 300 years, and somebody wants to invalidate your brand, invalidate the trademark, if they can prove that you were not using that trademark then or, in certain situations, if they raised the issue that it doesn't look like you were using it then and then you cannot prove that you were, then you're going to have a problem. If your trademark was filed with information that's inaccurate, that's incorrect, false, or fraudulent, you run a big risk of having that trademark invalidated for the only reason that you provided that false information. Be very careful when you fill that out.

For example, when we file your trademark application, one of the things that we're going to go through with you is that we're going to go through the list of the products and services that you want your trademark to cover. We're going to ask you very specifically, "When was the first date? When was the first date? When was the first date?"

You need to take it seriously because, again, we can put whatever dates you're going to tell us, but it's up to you to have the evidence to prove that you have all the invoices, to have all the website snapshots, all the photographs, whatever it is that you're going to use to prove that you started using that brand on that date, make sure that you have that.

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Disclaimer: Please note that this post and this video are not and are not intended as legal advice. Your situation may be different from the facts assumed in this post or video. Your reading this post or watching this video does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and Trademark Factory International Inc., and you should not rely on this post or this video as the only source of information to make important decisions about your intellectual property.

See our answers to other frequently asked questions about trademarks or leave your comments below!

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