TTAB Clarifies Requirements for Intent-to-Use Application Based on Foreign Registration
In Honda Motor Co., Ltd v. Friedrich Winkelmann (Opposition No. 91170552), the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the "TTAB") recently ruled that even though actual "use in commerce" is not required, the applicant must possess a bona fide intent to use a mark in U.S. commerce at the time it files a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under Section 44(e). Under that section of the trademark statute, a mark registered in a foreign country may be registered on the U.S. registry, but the application must state the applicant has a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce for the described goods and services. See Lanham Act § 44(e), 15 U.S.C. 1126(e). Although Section 44 does not require evidence of actual use in U.S. commerce prior to registration, the recent TTAB decision has put some teeth into Section 44(e)'s intent-to-use requirement.