An “intent to use basis” is one of several filing bases on which one can apply to register a trademark in the U.S.

In order to register a trademark in the United States, an applicant must show the trademark is used in commerce. This is a problem for brands that are advertising or crowd funding prior to a product launch, because no trademark rights exist before the product is sold. 

An intent to use application is the solution – it allows brand owners to apply to register a trademark prior to actually using the trademark in commerce. The registration won’t actually issue until the applicant shows that the trademark *is* being used in commerce, but their trademark rights will date back to the date the application is filed, granting earlier protection to the trademark than would otherwise be available.