Detroit Michigan Trademark Attorney: Trademark Registration - Renew It or Lose It
Once your trademark registration application is accepted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), passes through Publication, and your trademark is registered, that is not the end of the process.
There are multiple steps you must take at various intervals after your trademark is registered to avoid having it canceled by the USPTO.
The reason for this is that trademark protection is not offered by the US Government for protection of your creative product or your interesting logo; its purpose is to protect consumers. A US Trademark registration number is a guarantee to consumers of the source and quality of a product service offered in interstate commerce.
Thus, when you buy a bottle of Coca Cola, with that distinctive cursive script on the bottle, you know it came from the Coca Cola Corporation and not from some guy selling brown water in bottles on the side of the road.
Therefore, if you stop selling the associated product or stop offering the associated service, or you cease to engage in that business, the USPTO wants that mark freed up for use by someone who is actually using it in commerce.
Detroit Trademark Attorney: Post-Registration Deadlines for Trademark Renewal and Maintenance
After the trademark is initially registered, registrants must file a Declaration of Use or a Declaration of Excusable Nonuse between the 5th and 6th years after the registration date.
There is a 6-month grace period available with the payment of an additional fee, but reliance on grace periods, as with any area of law or finance, is a slippery slope. Better to meet the deadline, always.
Between the 9th and 10th years after the date of initial registration, registrants must again file a further Declaration of Use or a Declaration of Excusable Nonuse. There is again a 6-month grace period available for an additional fee.
The registrant must repeat this process between every 9th-10th year thereafter.
After 5 years has passed post-registration, the registrant can additionally file a Declaration of Incontestability, which is a claim of incontestable right to use a trademark that has been in continuous use for five years.
There is a $200 filing fee for this Declaration, but, once it is in place, third parties can no longer challenge the trademark's validity or certain other aspects.
Registration applications filed pursuant to The Madrid Protocol for internationally protected trademarks have slightly different renewal and maintenance requirements.
Detroit Michigan Trademark Attorney: The Bottom Line Regarding Trademark Renewal and Maintenance
The bottom line with regard to trademark renewal is that it is a necessary process that is ongoing and must be calendared years in advance. Receipt of a certificate of trademark registration is a jubilant occasion, however, it's not the end of the road.
To keep your trademark alive, healthy, and enforceable, you must maintain it without allowing the USPTO's deadlines to slip past unnoticed.
Retention of a knowledgeable trademark registration attorney who will calendar these dates and deadlines for you and remind you what needs to be done and when so that you can focus on your business is a great advantage.
If you are interested in discussing the filing of an initial trademark application or defending an office action already filed, please contact us to discuss your matter.