Your trademark is not protected until you’re actually using it in commerce, meaning that you are selling your goods and services on the market in some fashion. Your trademark has some protection even before it registers, and it has more protection after it registers, but it has nothing until it’s being used. So, if you have a plan and a name or logo in mind, and you want to claim that before you are actually able to go to market with your product, you can file an “Intent to Use” application. This is just like a regular application, except that you obviously aren’t required to show use yet, and you can’t get the trademark registered until you prove use in commerce. Until then, you fill out the application, and instead of showing your use, you promise to use it in the near future. Then, when you start using it, you file proof with the USPTO that it’s in use, and the USPTO continues with the process from there.