Trademarks are valuable assets that protect a company’s brand and identity. However, contrary to popular belief, trademarks do not last forever. They have a lifespan that depends on various factors, including the owner’s continuous use of the mark and regular renewal of its registration.
Understanding the lifecycle of a trademark is important for maintaining brand protection.
The lifespan of a trademark
A trademark registration in the United States lasts for ten years. However, to maintain the registration, the owner must show that the mark is in use in commerce within six years of the initial registration date. This is the “Section 8 Affidavit,” and without it, they cancel the trademark registration.
Renewal of trademarks
Renewing a trademark requires filing a “Section 9 Renewal.” You must file this document in the year before the end of each ten-year period. For instance, if a company registered its trademark in 2000, it would have to file for renewal in 2009, 2019 and so on. Filing for renewal ensures that the trademark stays active and continues to provide legal protection for the brand.
Expiration of trademarks
A trademark can expire if the owner fails to renew it, or if the mark is no longer in use. If a trademark expires due to non-renewal, the owner can no longer claim exclusive rights to that mark. Moreover, if the owner discontinues using the mark without intending to use it again in the future, it can become abandoned and available for others to use.
Trademark’s importance beyond its lifespan
Even when a trademark expires, it can still hold significant value. A company’s brand reputation, which a trademark helps to build and protect, continues to play an important role in attracting and retaining customers. Therefore, managing and maintaining trademarks effectively is vital for a company’s overall brand strategy.
Understanding the lifespan of a trademark can help you keep it as long as you need it.