Reaching the ten-year milestone in business is special. Congratulations. Have you renewed your trademark yet? Find out how to make the process painless.
How to File a Trademark Renewal
All good things must come to an end, and that includes the trademark on your brand or product. But you can renew that trademark to protect your intellectual property for as long as you plan to use it.
Trademarks require renewal every 10 years. The process to renew your trademark costs less and doesn’t take as much time as filing a trademark application. But trademark renewal represents an essential step in protecting the public perception of your brand.
A licensed attorney like The Patent Professor®, specializing in intellectual property (IP) law, can help ensure you file your trademark renewal application properly to protect your brand.
What Is Trademark Renewal?
Trademark renewal occurs when you re-affirm your trademark as your intellectual property. By filing the appropriate paperwork, you show the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that you are actively using your trademark by marketing and selling products under that brand.
Once you’ve renewed your trademark, other companies or individuals cannot use a similar mark, name, logo, slogan, color, or sound combination on their products or brands. If they do, you can sue them for trademark infringement.
Some trademarks have been around for centuries.
The trademark Coca-Cola® logo with the white stripe running beneath the words has been in use since 1969. A similar logo without the stylized line had been in use since 1886.
Other familiar and long-running logos trademarked in the 1800s or early 1900s include:
With time, your brand could become as recognizable as one of these iconic symbols – but only if you maintain your trademark renewals as needed.
How Often Do You Have to Renew Trademarks?
You must renew your trademark by the 10th anniversary of your trademark registration. You can renew the trademark registration at any time during the ninth year following its registration, as long as renewal is complete by the 10-year anniversary of its registration.
After that, you must renew your active trademarks once every 10 years.
To maintain your trademark, you must also file a Declaration of Use statement between the fifth and sixth years of registration. At this time, you must also pay the necessary maintenance fees to keep your trademark in good standing.
What's the Difference Between Trademark Renewal and Declaration of Use?
Your first trademark renewal occurs between the ninth and tenth years of registration and every 10 years after that. You must file a Declaration of Use with every renewal application.
You must also file a Declaration of Use between the fifth and sixth years of registration, but no renewal application or renewal fees are due at that time.
How Do You Know If Your Trademark Requires Maintenance or Renewal?
If you don’t remember when you first officially registered your trademark, you can verify your initial trademark registration date. Search the Trademark Status Document & Retrieval (TSDR) system on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.
Remember, the countdown to 5 years or 10 years begins when the USPTO first issues your trademark, not from the date of your trademark application.
What Happens If You Miss the Deadlines for Maintenance or Renewal?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office offers a six-month grace period for filing your trademark renewal or Declaration of Use. However, you’ll pay additional fees if you do not file by the 6-year or 10-year deadlines.
If you miss the extended deadline, you won’t get any reminders or additional grace period. The USPTO will cancel your trademark registration. You won’t be able to use the ® symbol next to your logo, brand, name, or slogan. You also won’t be able to prevent other people from using that distinguishing mark on their products.
What Is a Declaration of Use?
A Declaration of Use statement accompanies your trademark renewal application to show that you are still actively using your trademarked material on goods or services (often called “products,”) you market and sell.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office considers a specific definition of selling for your mark to qualify for a federal trademark.
You must also meet the following requirements:
Process for Filing a Declaration of Use
The United States Patent and Trademark Office requires three components within your Declaration of Use statement. You must include:
When you file the declaration, you should delete any products or services from your registration that you aren’t currently selling. It may be tempting to maintain your trademark on older products no longer for sale.
But if the United States Patent and Trademark Office examining attorney searches and realizes those items aren’t available for sale, you could lose your trademark registration. You might even be found guilty of fraud or making a false declaration on a government statement.
If you have questions about which products and services you should include on your trademark renewal application or Declaration of Use statement, you can speak to John Rizvi, Esq., your board-certified, licensed attorney specializing in trademark and patent law.
Why The Declaration of Use Is Important During Trademark Renewal
Your Declaration of Use shows that you still sell the items bearing your trademark. By demanding that businesses keep up with this important paperwork, the United States Patent and Trademark Office prevents trademark depletion and congestion.
As more companies launch and existing brands introduce new products, the market has become saturated with effective trademarks. The USPTO has voiced concerns that the United States may run out of trademark variations to name and identify new companies and products.
By letting unused trademarks expire and ensuring only active trademarks exist in the trademark database, inventors and business owners can help ensure future companies can find a way to identify and distinguish their brands.
Trademark Renewal Process
The trademark renewal process resembles the Declaration of Use filing you completed in the sixth year. Trademark renewal costs $300.
You’ll file your trademark renewal application online with the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). The system typically runs 24/7. The USPTO tries to keep people updated about outages or times when the system may be down for maintenance.
Do You Need a Licensed Attorney To Help You File a Trademark Renewal?
If you’re an international entity filing for a federal trademark in the United States, you’ll need a licensed attorney authorized to practice in the U.S. to help you file the application.
Because the trademark renewal process can be complicated, it’s best to call on a licensed attorney who you can trust to assist, even if you are a U.S. resident with a U.S.-based business.
The Patent Professor® is standing by to help you with your Declaration of Use statement and trademark renewal application. You spent a lot of time and creativity devising the perfect trademark to represent your brand. Don’t let your hard work expire. Call Prof. John Rizvi, Esq. today at (877) 986-7874 for help filing your trademark renewal.
The Patent Professor® can help as you celebrate the important 10-year business milestone of trademark renewal. Contact us at (877) 986-7874.