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When Does a Trademark Registration Expire

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2021 | Trademark Law

When does a trademark expire? Whether you are a small start-up company or a large corporation, understanding the value of a trademark is crucial. A trademark can be a specific phrase, logo design, words about your business, character, or numerous other identifying marks. Protecting your trademark can enhance various aspects of your marketing strategy by enticing consumers to purchase your goods or services. Your trademark embodies your company’s overall values, goals, and mission.

Protected Trademarks Need to be Renewed After 10 Years

If you have secured a trademark through the US Patent and Trademark Office, it is crucial that you understand when your trademark registration expires. Trademarks need to be renewed every 10 years in the United States. In most cases, protected trademarks end because of the failure of the owner to monitor the registration or other preventable circumstances. Once you have completed the trademark registration procedure through the USPTO, your specialized trademark is secure for 10 years.

You will need to file a Section 8 affidavit and a section 9 renewal application before the tenth year to continue protecting your trademark. Preparation is critical, and the fees and documents should be paid within six months of the 10-year deadline to ensure that your trademark is properly renewed. There are multiple reasons a trademark may be delayed, and many delays involve improper documentation.

There is a grace period for the 10-year renewal of your trademark. What happens if you fail to renew your trademark between your trademark registration’s 9th and 10th anniversary? You should not panic because you may still be able to renew your trademark during the six-month grace period after the expiration of the renewal term. You will need to pay additional fees to renew your trademark during the six-month grace period. Failure to renew your trademark during the time frame or period set forth above will result in your trademark being canceled by the US patent and trademark office. The office will strip the trademark of the benefits provided to federally registered U.S. trademarks.

Exceptions to the 10-Year Expiration Rule

How long does a trademark last? When a federal trademark was issued on or after November 16th, 1989, the owner must re-register the trademark within 10 years of the trademarking granted. However, there are a few exceptions to the 10-year expiration rule. Insert trademark was issued before November 16th, 1989. The original trademark lasted 20 years. After the initial 20 year period, the owner needs to re-register the trademark once every 20 years.

Protecting Your Trademark From Cancellation

After you obtain your trademark registration, we recommend placing all the documents pertaining to your trademark in a secure location or with your company’s attorney. Doing so will allow you to have access to all of the documents and information you need when it comes time to renew your trademark. Failure to provide proper documentation of a trademark by the official owner will result in a cancellation of your trademark. Should the USPTO cancel your trademark, you will no longer have any right to protect or enforce your trademark.

The Affidavit of Continued Use Between the Fifth and Sixth Year

In most cases, the trademark ownership lasts for 10 years. During this time, the trademark must be continually monitored by the owner or a representative of the company who owns the trademark. Before the sixth year of trademark protection, the owner must file a document for the continued use of the trademark. Failure to submit an Affidavit of continued use before the fifth and sixth year of trademark ownership will result in the USPTO canceling the trademark protection.

There is a six-month grace period for trademark owners who fail to file an affidavit of continued use between the fifth and sixth year. If you forgot to submit the proper forms between the fifth and sixth years, do not panic. After the expiration of the initial renewal term, you will have a six-month grace period. However, you will need to pay additional fees.

Abandonment of a Trademark

A trademark may expire because of abandonment over the years. The company that owns its trademark may experience unforeseeable circumstances from within the organization or changes in marketing strategies that result in an abandonment of the trademark. For example, the business owner may not need a specific trademark for their current business plan. Closing a company is another reason trademarks are abandoned. Whenever the trademark owner does not take the necessary steps to protect it, the trademark will expire.

Reviving a Trademark

It is possible to revive a trademark after abandoning it. If the previous owner of the trademark Re-establishes using the trademark, files a new registration, and pays the fees, they can revive the abandoned trademark. The owner must take all of these steps before another interested party tries to register the trademark.

Any other person who tries to register the trademark as his or her own will be denied as long as:

  • There is not any evidence of a similar trademark, and
  • The previous owner meets the standard of using the trademark

If you are interested in reviving an abandoned trademark, you will need to submit a petition to revive the trademark. The USPTO will only revive a trademark when the applicant has unintentionally failed to respond to a request made by the USPTO.

Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Trademark Lawyer Today

You may be wondering whether you should hire an attorney for your trademark renewal. Working with an experienced intellectual property lawyer is always a good idea. The skilled intellectual property lawyers atAU LLC are here to help you with any trademark matters you have, including registering a trademark, renewing a trademark, or handling trademark infringement.

In addition to assisting you with your trademark matters, we can also help you develop an overall intellectual property strategy for protecting your intellectual aspects. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.