Delay in filing a federal trademark application can be lethal to a planned branding strategy. Consider filing an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as soon as you decide on a new brand, or even when you are still choosing between possible alternate brands. Priority in a trademark mark is based on first usage, although the benefit of filing an Intent-to-Use application is that it creates “constructive” first use as of the filing date. Do not leave open the opportunity for someone else, even innocently, to start using your brand, or beat you to an early filing date. File a federal application early to protect your brand.