There would be little point in registering a trademark only to have it expire while you are still in business. Fortunately, once you register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it can be protected by law for an indefinite period of time. However, in order to maintain your trademark protection indefinitely, you will have to meet several conditions set by the USPTO.

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How to Qualify for Infinite Protections

The primary requirement is that the trademark must be used. You must not only use the trademark, but also provide the USPTO with a Section 8 Declaration of Use within five years of the date when the trademark was originally registered. This will extend your trademark protection for another five years. Then, in the ninth or tenth year after the registration, the USPTO will require you to submit a combined Declaration of Use and Application for Renewal under Sections 8 and 9. This procedure must be repeated every ten years after that, but will provide you with practically indefinite protection for your trademark as long as you submit the necessary documents in a timely fashion and pay the fees.

The Importance of Filing Trademark Paperwork on Time

How long does a trademark last if you forget to file your documents on time or if the check you wrote to pay the fees bounces? It doesn’t. If you fail to submit the necessary documents and fees, the registration will be permanently cancelled. You will not be able to revive or reinstate your trademark. It is very important, therefore, to file all your documents on time. Of course, you should also ensure that the trademark is actually being used before the five year mark, because if it isn’t, the registration will be cancelled as well.

Exceptions to the “Use” Requirement

In special cases, the USPTO can accept a claim of nonuse, if the claim fits the criteria outlined in the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure. Note, however, that the USPTO only grants claims of nonuse in exceptional circumstances.

Have questions about keeping your trademark valid? Get legal advice about maintaining your trademark.

Get started Visit Our Intellectual Property Center Get trademark documents and ask your IP questions.

Get started Visit Our Intellectual Property Center Get trademark documents and ask your IP questions.