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You’ve taken all the right steps to protect your intellectual property – contacted your FOS attorney, defined your mark’s scope, and prepared and filed a trademark application for all proper international classes.
At last, your trademark registration is approved. With the hard work done, you feel like sitting back and relaxing, secure in knowing that your trademark is federally registered.
Not so fast.
Federal trademark protection, obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), does not last forever.
After a trademark has been federally registered, owners must maintain the trademark and its registration.
First, trademark owners must continue to use the mark. Because trademark rights are based on their use in commerce, the mark must, with limited exceptions, continue to be used to promote your goods or services.
Marks that are not used in commerce may be cancelled.
Second, trademark owners must “maintain” the mark by making certain filings with the USPTO at mandated times.
These include between the 5th and 6th year and between the 9th and 10th year after the mark is registered, and every 10 years thereafter.
Because these dates are so far out, it is important to have a docketing system, like the one FOS uses, for reminders of important deadlines.
Beware of scammers sending “official” notices demanding additional fees to maintain your mark – never pay a random third-party for “processing” or “recording.”
Finally, trademark owners must protect the mark against infringing uses. Owners must defend marks against infringing third-party uses which could dilute or tarnish the marks.
Some trademark owners employ “watchdog” services to flag potentially infringing trademark applications.
Trademark registration helps protect valuable intellectual property – but protection does not end at registration.
Your FOS attorney can help you best protect your mark.