Trademarks are the best way to protect the unique identity of your products or services and distinguish them from those of others, creating recognition and enabling your customers to identify their source.
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Once registered, trademarks are protected from being used by others, just like other assets.
As the business and its reputation grow, trademarks often increase in value and become extraordinarily valuable assets.
But, how long does a trademark last?
Trademark registration is territorial and, therefore, the duration of a trademark registration varies depending on the laws of the country or territory it is registered in.
Typically, it’s ten years.
So how come we know famous trademarks that potentially last forever? Because trademark registration can be renewed indefinitely.
What are some countries where trademarks last for an initial period of 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely if requirements are met?
- United States
- European Union
And many more.
How Long Does a Trademark Last in the US?
In the United States, a federal trademark has to be renewed every ten years from the date of registration. If not, the registration can be canceled.
Remember to follow the date. The USPTO sends courtesy email reminders, but you must still file the documents on time regardless.
To renew trademark registration in the US, the trademark owner must meet the legal requirements for the trademark to be renewed and file maintenance documents to the United States Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) before the deadline or the registration will be canceled or will expire.
The required maintenance files include:
- A Declaration of Use (Under sections 8) between the fifth and sixth year after the registration date. The declaration confirms that the owner is still using the trademark with the goods and services in the original registration. This should be submitted with a specimen of use and a fee. Failure to file a Declaration will result in cancellation of the registration. Having filed the affidavit, the registration can be renewed.
- A Declaration of Use and Application for Renewal (Under sections 8 and 9) between the ninth and 10th years after the initial trademark registration date.
- A Declaration of Use and Application for Renewal (Under sections 8 and 9) every 10 years after that, with no changes from how it was originally registered and issued. Doing this will grant uninterrupted trademark protection.
Optional maintenance files include:
- A Declaration of Incontestability (Under Section 15). The declaration states that the trademark cannot be challenged. It is not mandatory to file this declaration, but it can provide trademark holders with better protection in case of future trademark infringements or any challenges to the trademark.
If you file the necessary documents and have been using the trademark as it was issued, your brand can gain trademark protection for an unlimited consecutive 10-year periods.
But what happens if the maintenance documents are not filed in time?
If renewal papers are not filed in time, your trademark can be canceled by the USPTO.
Brands that use their trademark and wish to avoid it being canceled, must file the maintenance document as required by law and keep the registration active as it was.
Once canceled, a trademark registration cannot be reinstated.
This means that in case you did not file as required and your registration was canceled, you need to apply for a trademark again.
There is a grace period of 6 months offered by the USPTO to renew the registration, but it requires an additional fee.
If your trademark was canceled, it does not mean that you have no protection.
Without trademark registration, trademarks can still have common law protection as long as you keep using them for the same purposes.
In terms of your rights, trademark intellectual property rights do not change, but you lose the additional protection offered by trademark registration.
How Long Does a Trademark Last in the EU?
A European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) is valid for ten years. It can be renewed for ten years at a time, indefinitely.
Six months before the expiration of the registration the EUIPO will inform the owner, their representative or any other registered rights holder, in writing, that the registration is due for renewal.
To renew, submit a request and pay the associated fee during the 6-month period prior to the expiration.
An additional six-month grace period for renewal starts on the day following the date of expiration, with payment of an extra fee.
An EU registration applies to all EU countries, but if you choose for any reason to maintain your rights in certain Member States but not in others, you can file an application for conversion rather than renewal, within three months from the end of the additional period for renewal.
How Long Does a Trademark Last in China?
A trademark in China is valid for ten years from the date of registration.
Within 12 months prior to the date of expiration, you need to file an application to renew the registration.
There is a grace period of 6 months to renew registration, but it requires an extra fee. You can continue to file for renewal every 10 years.
Unlike the United States, you do not need to prove “use” to file an application and register a trademark in China.
Similarly, a registered trademark does not require that you prove use to maintain or renew the registration.
However, once a trademark is challenged for non-use by a third party, which can generally happen after it has been registered for three years, it requires the owner to provide evidence of use of the registered trademark.
For brands who market their goods or services in China, it is usually easy to provide sufficient evidence of use.
Does Trademark Registration Offer International Protection?
No. Trademarks and other intellectual property assets are territorial.
Whether State or Federal, registration provides protection within geographical borders.
For trademark protection in multiple countries, you have two options:
- Register your trademark in each country where you want your mark to be protected or in a region such as the European Union.
- Register your trademark under the Madrid System. As the Madrid System does not unify or harmonize trademark law in all member countries, each country in which you apply for registration has the right to determine whether it grants protection in the territory. Each country reviews the application, and once it approves it, the trademark is registered in that country and gains the same protection as it would have had it been registered there.
Does the International Trademark Depend on the Office of Origin?
An international registration depends on the mark in the Office of Origin for a period of five years starting the date of its registration.
After the initial five-year period, the international registration becomes independent of the application or registration in the Office of Origin.
Then it can remain in effect upon the payment of applicable fees every ten years.
How to Protect my Trademarks Online?
Registered trademarks are an integral part of your brand identity and value, so it is crucial to verify your trademark registration lasts for as long as you need it.
Registered IP rights, such as trademarks, are an essential tool for brands who wish to enforce their rights online, such as through takedown requests on online marketplaces and on online platforms, such as Amazon Brand Registry.
To protect your brand online, we suggest you consider professional online brand protection services that can offer a strategy and the technology and expertise to offer a 360° solution.
Online Trademark Protection by Wiser Market
Wiser Market is an online brand protection agency dedicated to helping brands fight trademark violations, counterfeits, and more.
Our solutions include advanced monitoring technology, team expertise and proactive enforcement to help you fight against trademark infringement with quick, effective results.
With Wiser Market, your brand will have a complete intellectual property protection solution, tailor-made to your intellectual property protection needs.
Need to protect Your Brand?
Contact us for a Free Demo:
What is a Trademark?
A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services.
Trademarks identify the origin of goods or services and distinguish them from others.
A trademark does not mean that you have ownership of the word or image. Instead, it provides the exclusive right to use the trademark on goods and services and prevent others from doing so.
What is online brand protection?
Online brand protection services defend your intellectual property assets against online threats. Use Wiser Market’s online brand protection services to combat counterfeiting, protect your domain name, prevent trademark, copyright, and brand infringements, and combat gray market selling and knockoffs. Effective online brand protection safeguards your company’s revenue, profits, reputation, customer service, and brand trust.
What are brand protection services?
Brand protection services aim to enforce the intellectual property rights of brands and deter scammers. They are your partners in fighting online brand infringements. Do it the Wiser way.
Disclaimer: This information is intended to help the reader gain a basic understanding of the current trademark situation. It is NOT designed to provide legal, business, or other relevant professional advice.