A trademark can last indefinitely, but it will require some action of the part of its holder. In general, you must file the appropriate maintenance filings with the U.S> Patent and Trademark Office and adopt certain business practices in order to keep your trademark alive.
USPTO Maintenance Filings
To maintain your trademark registration, you must file your first maintenance document before the end of the 6th year after the registration date and other maintenance documents thereafter. It is important to note that the USPTO does NOT send reminder notices when the documents are due.
You must file the following forms:
- Declaration of Continued Use or Excusable Nonuse under Section 8 (§8 declaration); and
- Combined Declaration of Continued Use and Application for Renewal under Sections 8 and 9 (combined §§8 and 9).
A §8 declaration is due before the end of the 6-year period after the registration date or within the 6-month grace period thereafter. Failure to file this declaration will result in the cancellation of the registration.
A combined §§8 and 9 must be filed before the end of every 10-year period after the registration date or within the 6-month grace period thereafter. Failure to make these required filings will also result in cancellation and/or expiration of the registration.
Required Business Practices
In addition to filing the appropriate paperwork, companies must also adopt certain business practices in order to keep a trademark alive. For instance, trademark rights may be deemed abandoned if you no longer use your mark in commerce and have no intent to do so in the future. Also, if you misuse your mark, including allowing it to become too generic, you may also lose your rights as well.
Given what’s at stake, in order to ensure that you take the proper steps to maintain your trademark, it is best to consult with an experienced trademark attorney.