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How Long Does A Trademark Last

Updated: November 12, 2023
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A trademark will last you the life of your business with adequate maintenance. There are several legal options available to help you strengthen the IP protections surrounding your trademarks.

In this article, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about how long trademarks last and maintaining them:

What is the Duration of a Trademark?

The duration of a trademark is ten years from the date of registration. This period includes the option to renew indefinitely. You must also first renew it between the 5th and 6th year after registration by filing a §8 Declaration of Continued Use to review registration.

This web page also discusses trademarks.

Legal Requirements for Trademark Registration

The legal requirements for trademark registration include a trademark search, owner name, description of use, and a trademark specimen. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) oversees these requirements.

Here are the five legal requirements for trademark registration:

Requirement 1: Trademark Search

Trademark searches are vital for establishing whether or not another business or person is using the trademark identically or similarly. This process is also critical for both images and wordmarks. It’s unlikely that you would want another business using your protected works, which means you should always perform this function before applying.

Trademark searches are one of the most complicated aspects of obtaining a trademark. Hiring trademark application lawyers ensure that the trademark you want is available and clear for use.

Requirement 2: Owner Name

The trademark owner is the individual who controls the nature and quality of goods and services sold under the trademark. A person or legal entity can own a trademark, such as a business, trust, non-profit, or government organization.

Requirement 3: Entity Type & Nationality

Your application must also indicate what type of owner is applying for trademark registration. While you don’t have to be a United States citizen to apply, it’s essential to disclose the nationality or headquarters location of the trademark owner.

Requirement 4: Use

The USPTO wants applicants to use their trademarks rather than obtain intellectual property, such as logos, designs, service marks, brands, or expressions, to sit idle. As a result, you must indicate whether you’re using it now or plan to in the future.

You have two options when registering a trademark:

  • Option 1. Intended use: It is sufficient to make a good faith statement that you intend to use the trademark w filing an “Intent-To-Use” application. However, you must use it before registering a trademark and file a “Statement of Use” document.
  • Option 2. Actual use: Applicants should specify which products they will use the trademark. This option is more common than the former and will need to follow the trademark specimen requirement.

Managing this aspect of your trademark application can be challenging. Speak with trademark lawyers if you have questions about the actual or intended use of your trademarks. They can help you file your documents as well.

Requirement 5: Trademark Specimen

You must submit a trademark specimen or drawing if you apply for a trademark based on actual use. A specimen is an actual sample of how you’re using the trademark.

Examples of trademark specimens include:

  • Labels
  • Tags
  • Brochures
  • Magazine ads
  • Products

The most crucial factor is to show how you use the trademark. Ornamental productions, such as image copies, are not viable. The specimen must be flat and no bigger than 8.5” x 11”.

Other guidelines include depicting actual use if you intend on using your trademark later. The drawing for applications based on an Intent To Use must depict the trademark in how the applicant intends to use it. Even if a specimen is submitted, a drawing is required.

Upon confirmation, you can add the trademark symbol (™) to the works with IP protection. Either add the trademark symbol through a computer application or graphic designer.

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How Do You Know When a Trademark Expires?

Trademarks expire after ten years unless they are renewed. You should keep track of this date and note it on your calendar. With continued use and renewal, your trademark will never expire, and it is your responsibility to ensure that doesn’t happen.

You can learn more about trademarks by checking out this web page.

Maintaining Your Trademark

There are several advantages to trademark registration. Obtaining a presumption that you own exclusive rights to that mark is one of those advantages. The registered trademark holder does not have to prove that the registered trademark is valid in a trademark infringement lawsuit.

Here are three necessary steps for maintaining your trademark and invoking these vital IP protections:

Step 1. Keep Your Trademark Registration Current

Once you’ve registered a trademark with the USPTO, you must keep it up to date. The continued use of your trademark is essential to protecting your company’s intellectual property. Without it, your trademark registration could lapse and become someone else’s IP.

You must also file proof with their office that you have used it five years after registration. Thereafter, you must file proof with the USPTO every ten years that you have continued to use it.

Step 2. Provide Evidence of Continued Use

The process of submitting proof of continued use of a trademark to the USPTO is simple. You can upload your evidence via the TEAS portal on their website. Every type of good or service on which you use your registered mark will require a provided sample.

Step 3. File an Affidavit of Incontestability

You should also think about adding another layer of protection on your exclusive right to use your mark. An Affidavit of Incontestability accomplishes this objective. An affidavit provides indisputable proof of your exclusive right to use your registered mark.

By filing this document, you can prevent anyone from claiming that they used the trademark first. This also eliminates the possibility of someone claiming your registration is invalid because your mark is merely descriptive.

Here is another web page that discusses trademarks.

Trademark Duration vs. Other Intellectual Property

The duration of a trademark vs. other intellectual property is shorter by comparison. However, you can make a trademark last longer than a copyright by renewing it every ten years and with continued use.

How long does a copyright last?

Copyrights last for the life of the author plus 70 years. However, the amount of time that a copyright carries depends upon whether or not it was a published work.

Examples of copyrightable works include:

  • Architectural works
  • Compilations of works and derivative works
  • Computer programs
  • Literary, musical, and dramatic works
  • Motion pictures and other AV works
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Sound recordings

How long does a patent last?

Patents last for 20 years from the date of your application filing. However, like a trademark, you must maintain a patent periodically and pay certain fees. You can maintain a patent indefinitely.

Examples of patentable works include:

  • Business methods
  • Computer accessories
  • Computer hardware
  • Computer software
  • Electronics
  • Functions
  • Games
  • Internet advances
  • Jewelry
  • Machines
  • Medications
  • Medical devices
  • Processes
  • And more

If you need help obtaining a trademark, copyright, or patent, intellectual property lawyers can help you navigate the issues. They can also help you handle the application and maintenance process as well. Find a legal professional in your state today by posting a job on ContractsCounsel’s marketplace.

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