TRADEMARK UPKEEP GUIDE
Your trademark was approved and is now officially registered.
Congrats! Now what?
Trademark registration comes with some great benefits, including:
- National Protection - You now own your trademark throughout the entire U.S. in conjunction with your listed goods or services. If another business attempts to use a mark confusingly similar to yours within your registered class of goods and services, you may have rights to stop their use and to seek damages.
- Notice & Deterrence - Further, your registration is public information and other businesses will be deterred from infringing on your mark as there is public notice of your ownership.
- Rights to More Damages - If another business does infringe on your mark, you may have rights to more damages in court because you have a registered mark and because the infringer had public notice of your registration.
- Presumption of Ownership - Note that your ownership is presumed by the law, but because trademark ownership is prioritized to whomever is first-to-use a mark in commerce (not first-to-register) there is still a chance that someone who was using the mark before you in your class of goods and services could dispute your ownership. However, this is rare, and assuming the other mark is unregistered, the opposing party may have less rights to their mark. Further, in the event of a dispute the opposing party would have the burden to prove that they had priority ownership to the mark. If such an issue arises, contact us first before engaging with the other party.
In order to upkeep ownership to your mark, you need to do the following:
- Stamp Your Ownership - You can now stamp your trademark with the official trademark registration symbol, "®". Generally, you should use this symbol whenever you use your mark to put the public on notice of your ownership.
- Police Your Trademark - You are responsible for policing your mark and the law requires that you stop infringers in order to maintain your ownership. If you allow others to infringe on your mark, then the law may presume that you have abandoned your rights to the mark. To police your mark, you should keep an eye out for any unauthorized uses of your trademark and notify us of any such activity. For best protection, coordinate trademark monitoring with us to automatically police your mark.
- Beware of Scams - You will likely receive periodic scam mail from companies trying to trick you into paying for services associated with your trademark that you do not need. They will make efforts to appear official and may reference some legal requirement they will help you comply with. These notices are almost never from the government and can be disregarded. Contact us if you are unsure.
- Renewal - In 5-6 years you will need to renew your trademark by filing a declaration of continued use. After that, additional renewals will be required every 5-10 years. We will calendar these reminders for you and will notify you in advance before they are due.
- International Protection - If your business engages in activity internationally, we recommend expanding your trademark protection in those regions to ensure your trademark protection applies overseas. Contact us if this applies to you and we can review the process and coordinate next steps.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.