In the right hands, a trademark can last as long as it is used. Trademark protection is complex in nature. Businesses need to understand what a trademark really is in order to know how long it will last. As a result, business owners can predict with precision how long a trademark will last.
Intellectual property such as trademarks is complex. Rather than owning a word or an image, a trademark owner owns the right to use it to identify the source of goods or services.
In order to maintain your trademark, you must know what it protects and how to use it.
The trademark statement of use must be filed with the initial trademark application. Using the trademark in commerce is shown by the statement. In the statement of use, it is important to demonstrate the actual use of the mark.
Trademarks are used to identify the source of goods and services. Trademarks should not be protected if they are not being used. The purpose of trademark protection is not to store interesting brands for future use.
Trademarks: How Long Do They Last?
Patents and copyrights expire after a set period of time, but trademarks do not. As long as the owner continues to use the trademark, the trademark will continue to exist. Upon granting a registered trademark by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the owner must continue to use the trademark in ordinary commerce.
However, simply using the mark is not enough. The owner of a trademark is required to provide evidence that the trademark is still being used under section 8. It is necessary for the owner to file a section 8 declaration to prove that the mark is still in use.
Proof that the mark is still in use is provided by a sworn statement from the owner. Before the sixth anniversary of the USPTO’s registration of the trademark, the owner must file the declaration. The owner can request a six-month grace period if the declaration is not filed before the sixth anniversary for a fee.
A trademark owner must provide proof of use on the tenth anniversary of registration. The owner must provide photographic evidence of a product, using the trademark, available for sale in addition to the trademark section 8 declaration. Every 10 years thereafter, unless the trademark is abandoned, the owner will need to provide similar proof of usage and a declaration in order to renew the trademark.
To understand trademark maintenance, you must first understand what a trademark is. In other words, trademarks are not logos, brands, or words. If you own a trademark, you have the right to prevent others from using it on goods or services. Your trademark tells your customers where your products are made. It is in the USPTO’s direct interest to protect your right to enforce those rights.
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It is necessary to continue using these rights in order to keep them enforceable. To use your trademark, you must make and sell products. Then you no longer have a trademark to protect if you fail to do any of those things. Your trademark rights will lapse if you fail to do them for a long enough period of time.
Don’t forget to mark your calendar every five and ten years to avoid losing those rights. Make sure you can provide a section 8 declaration and evidence of your trademark’s usage. By not doing so, you may lose the trademark you sought to protect.