Call Today for a FREE Consultation

Unmatched Experience
Solving the Legal and Business Issues Faced by Our Clients

Do trademarks expire?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2023 | Trademark Law

It takes a long time to create a trademark that represents your brand. There is a lot of research, along with trial and error, before finally hitting on the perfect design.

After going through the complex process to register your trademark, you may believe it’s yours for life. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely accurate.

The trademark registration process

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has two responsibilities:

  1. Granting U.S. patents
  2. Registering trademarks

They also maintain a database of all registered trademarks in use. Once you decide upon a design and ensure it’s not already in use, you must prepare and file your application online. There are several different forms based on your needs and budget. You are also required to pay a filing fee.

After filing your application, there are usually issues that the USPTO will ask you to address. Once those are resolved, the USPTO will publish your design in their Official Gazette, allowing others to oppose your registration. If there are no objections, you will either receive a Notice of Allowance or your trademark will be registered.

This is just a basic summary, and the actual process is much more complicated.

However, maintaining your trademark is just as important as registering it. While it doesn’t necessarily expire, it can lose its registered status.

Registered trademark owners must file maintenance documents to prove the mark is still in use. Between the fifth and sixth year after the initial registration, they must file a Section 8 Declaration of Use.

Between the ninth and tenth year and every ten years after that, you will need to file another Section 8 Declaration of Use and a Section 9 Application for Renewal. The USPTO can cancel or expire the registration if these documents are not filed.

Failure to meet these milestones could mean losing the rights to your design. Both registering and maintaining your trademark can be complex. It’s always best to consult with a legal representative to assist you through the processes.