03 / 29 / 2016

Does a Trademark Registration Ever Expire?

From small start-up companies to large corporations, business owners understand the value of a distinguishing mark. The mark will enhance various aspects of the marketing strategy to entice consumers to purchase the products. In many ways, trademarks embody the company’s values, mission and goals.

The trademark may be part of a specific phrase, words pertaining to the business, logo design, character and numerous other identifying marks. By using the US trademark registration, the company’s identifying trademark will be protected. The expiration of the protected trademark usually ends due to failure to monitor the mark or other preventable circumstances.

Expiration

After completing the US trademark registration procedure, the specialized mark is secure for ten years. Filing a Section 8 Affidavit and a Section 9 Renewal application prior to the tenth year is vital for on-going protection. The documents and fees should be admitted six months in advance of the ten-year deadline to ensure proper renewal.

Delays in renewal may be the result of improper documentation. After the first filing, placing all documentation pertaining to the mark in a secure location or with the company’s attorney is critical. Failure to provide proper documentation of trademark’s official owner will result in cancelation.

Cancelation

The US trademark registration generally allows the trademark to be protected the trademark for ten years. During this timeframe, the mark must be continuously monitored by the owner or representative of the company. Prior to the sixth year of trademark protection, a document for continued use must be filed. Failure to register the Affidavit of Continued Use between the fifth and sixth year will result in cancelation of the trademark protection.

Abandonment

Over the years, the trademark may expire due to abandonment. Changes in marketing strategies or other unforeseeable circumstances from within the organization may result in the trademark’s abandonment. The owner may not need the specific trademark for the current business plan. A company’s closure is another reason for abandonment. When the owner does not take the necessary steps to protect the mark, the trademark will expire.

By understanding all aspects of the US trademark registration, a small business or solo entrepreneur will be able to protect the unique product’s mark for continuous use. As a company owner, contacting a business lawyer to help guide you through the necessary steps of US trademark registration should be a priority.

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