Most people have a general idea about what trademarks are and why they are important. However, few know how long trademarks last. Trademark lifespan matters a great deal as the last thing a business owner or manager needs is to have their trademark expire while the business is still dependent on it to generate revenue. Below, we answer the question of “How long does a trademark last?” and explain how to extend the protection provided by this essential legal tool.
Do Trademarks Expire? An In-depth Look at Trademark Lifespan
United States law protects trademarks for an indefinite amount of time. Those who are proactive and take the steps necessary to maintain their trademark protection across the long haul will enjoy indefinite protection. However, those who do not lean on a trademark attorney for ongoing trademark protection may find inadequate protection across posterity.
If conditions established by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are not met and maintained, the trademark you spent time, money and effort to obtain will expire, ultimately putting your business at a considerable competitive disadvantage. When attempting to answer the inquiry of “How long does a trademark last?”, there is no clear and straightforward answer. The length of the trademark’s protection hinges on your willingness to meet the conditions as set by the USPTO.
Qualify for Indefinite Trademark Protection
In order to qualify for ongoing trademark protection, the main requirement is that the business use the trademark in question. Furthermore, aside from using the trademark, you must also provide the USPTO with the required support material. The USPTO mandates that businesses looking to use and maintain ownership over a trademark provide a Section 8 Declaration of Use. It must be provided to the USPTO within a minimum of five years from when the trademark was first registered.
Providing the necessary Section 8 Declaration of Use extends the protection of the trademark for the next 5 years. Once the 9th or 10th year rolls around after the registration, the USPTO mandates that the business owner, manager or other representative submits the combined Declaration of Use and Application for Renewal as detailed in Section 8 and Section 9. However, the trademark renewal process does not stop at this point.
Trademark procedures must be repeated every decade going forward. Adhere to this schedule for document submission and fee payment and you will enjoy nearly indefinite trademark protection as time progresses. Furthermore, if you are like most business professionals, you are tired of wondering, “How long does a trademark last?” Let us handle this legal hurdle on your behalf and you will always know exactly how much longer your trademark will provide essential protection.
The Clock is Ticking in Your Quest to Retain Trademark Protection
When it comes to trademarks, time is of the essence. Fail to file your trademark paperwork by the appropriate deadlines and you will lose trademark protection. Even a simple mistake has the potential to prevent you from retaining trademark protection. Fail to meet the deadline or make another mistake when attempting to renew trademark protection and your trademark won’t provide any protection at all. Even a single honest err when submitting the necessary documents, filling out the necessary forms and paying the required fees has the potential to permanently cancel your registration.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to reinstate an expired trademark. Once the trademark expires, it will be permanently gone. This is precisely why it is so important to lean on a trademark attorney to renew the trademark’s protection across posterity. Above all, it is imperative that you verify the trademark is in use prior to the five year mark. If the trademark is not, the registration will automatically cancel in accordance with the nuances of trademark law.
How Long Does a Trademark Last? Consider Potential Exceptions to the “Use” Mandate
There are some rare instances when the USPTO accepts claims of non-use. However, these instances are few and far between. If the claim is in accordance with the criteria detailed in the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure, the USPTO might accept a non-use claim. The circumstances in question must qualify as exceptional in order to be granted a claim of non-use.
It is clear that the nuances of trademark law and renewal are quite confusing. When in doubt, lean on the assistance of a proven trademark attorney. A qualified LawTrades trademark attorney will ensure your trademark provides adequate protection and retain that protection across posterity.