How to Use and Protect Your Trademark Registration
What you need to know to keep your ® alive!
Whew, you did it - you have your own registered trademark, congrats, that’s a huge win for your business. You OWN your branding and I know the confidence and empowerment that comes from that!
But did you know it is YOUR JOB to keep your trademark up to date and enforce it within the world?
Here are a few things to keep in mind once you pass that big hurdle of actually getting your mark (hint: the rest is a cakewalk!):
Use Your Mark Consistently. First off, use your trademark, you need to keep selling consistently to keep your registration going. If you stop selling or using your mark, it can be considered “weakened” and open to more challenges.
Also you can (and should) use the ® - this means you have a registered trademark and lets the world know IT. You don't have to use it everywhere, but we suggest using it in a few places on your website and in social media.
Police Your Trademark. Second, it's important to "police" your trademark, this means you should keep a lookout for others in your industry that may start to use a similar mark. If you spot someone doing this, it is your job (as part of keeping up your trademark registration) to let them know the mark is taken and/or send a Cease & Desist if necessary. If you don’t, your mark could become “diluted” or someone could challenge it and claim you failed to police it.
File the proper renewals on time. Third, there are a few federal requirements to keep your trademark up to date - these “renewal filings” are forms that can be submitted online along with a small fee per class of goods/services. You must file a Declaration of Use (meaning, you are still actively using your trademark) between the 5th and 6th years after the registration date. You will get an email from USPTO as a reminder and yes you have a whole year! If the declaration is accepted, the registration will continue in force for the remainder of the ten-year period, calculated from the registration date, unless cancelled by an order of the Commissioner for Trademarks or a federal court.
Then you must file a second Declaration of Use and an Application for Renewal between the 9th and 10th years after the registration date. Then you must file a Declaration of Use (or Excusable Nonuse) and an Application for Renewal between every 9th and 10th-year period, calculated from the registration date for as long as you are actively using the trademark.
If you want to learn more on renewals and filings see the USPTO website for more information! Or if you need help maintaining your trademark and want us to handle it, reach out and learn more about our maintenance package!
Sarah Kornblet Waldbuesser, Esq.
Attorney for Coaches & Online Business Owners
After several years at a law firm and a few career jumps, she ended up falling in love with online business and loves helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams in a smart and protected way. She is also an adventurer, traveler, and food and wine lover. When not at her computer, she loves hanging with her family, having wine with friends, flying around the globe and connecting with other online business owners.
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