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How Long Does a Trademark Last?

September 19, 2022

Compared to patents and copyright, you don’t have to jump through hoops to answer the question of how long does a trademark last. In fact, with the right documentation and adherence to legal requirements and deadlines, your trademark could be yours for a long, long time. The guide below will help you find out exactly how long and what you need to do as the trademark owner to ensure your trademark lifespan goes on for a while.

Do Trademarks Expire?

In contrast to patents and copyrights, trademarks don’t have a set expiration date. A trademark’s lifespan can extend indefinitely after the date of registration as long as you continue to use it. 

This doesn’t mean that registering a trademark is a one-and-done deal. You will need to continually renew your trademark every set number of years to extend a trademark’s lifespan.

So, How Long Does Trademark Registration Last?

A trademark lasts for 10 years from the trademark registration date. You’ll have the option to renew the trademark registration for additional 10-year periods. However, during the first 10 years of registration, you must complete an initial trademark renewal between years five and six to maintain registration. 

That last point is critical to remember when it comes to protecting your registered trademark status. You must file an affidavit stating that the mark is still in use between the fifth and sixth year of registering your trademark. Without this affidavit, your registration will be canceled. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) only sends one reminder at the beginning of the year, so you must do your best to remember. 

Documentation That Affects Trademark Duration

Trademark registration does not have a set expiration date if you follow the correct steps. The most important thing to remember is that you must file certain maintenance documents at certain times to keep a trademark’s lifespan going for a long period of time. 

  • 5-6 Years From Trademark Registration: You must file a Section 8 declaration that affirms the continued use of your mark. If you can, it’s recommended to file a Section 15 document seeking incontestability as well. 
  • 9-10 Years From Trademark Registration: You are required to file a Section 8 declaration and a Section 9 renewal application. 
  • Every 10 Years From Trademark Registration: You are required to file a Section 8 declaration and Section 9 renewal application. 

Your trademark will be considered abandoned if you fail to file these documents. 

How Long Does a Service Mark Last?

A service mark lasts indefinitely as long as you renew it the same way as any other trademark. Remember that a trademark and service mark are the same thing, the only difference being that a trademark is used for goods, while a service mark is used for services.

Is Trademark Expiration Bad?

Trademark expiration is bad for your business because it can lead the USPTO to cancel your registration. You can not reinstate your registration if it’s canceled. You will instead need to go through the entire federal trademark registration process again. 

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Can an Expired Trademark Be Renewed?

Yes, if your trademark expires, there is a six-month grace period during which you can renew it, but it will cost you an additional fee to extend your trademark length this way. 

Can You Lose a Trademark?

Yes, you can lose a trademark in several ways. The most relevant way to lose a trademark is through abandonment. The USPTO will consider your trademark abandoned if you don’t complete your trademark application. If you have a registered mark but don’t submit the necessary renewal documents throughout a trademark lifespan, the USPTO will consider your trademark canceled.  

How Long is a Trademark Good For? Our Final Thoughts

Federal trademarks are, at their core, markedly different as a type of intellectual property than patents and copyrights, especially when looking at how long does trademark protection last. Compared to the latter two, trademarks can last indefinitely, but only if you do your due diligence and go through the process of renewing and extending a trademark’s lifespan. Although a basic way of looking at it, you should keep the phrase “use it or lose it” in mind. 

Continuing to make products or providing services related to your trademark is essential, or you risk losing it eventually, along with your trademark rights. Consider making notes on your personal calendar marking the 6th- and 10th-year anniversaries of your trademark lifespan. That way, you’ll remember to start your application for renewal and file the necessary documents that ultimately determine how long a trademark lasts.

Take action and apply for a trademark today. 

Join the thousands that have already protected their brand by establishing a trademark. 

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Trademark Engine is not a law firm and none of the information on this website constitutes or is intended to convey legal advice. General information about the law is not the same as advice about the application of the law in a particular factual or legal situation. Individual facts and circumstances as well as legal principles including but not limited to the ones referenced on this website can affect the outcome of any given situation.

Trademark Engine cannot and does not guarantee that an application will be approved by the USPTO, that a mark will be protected from infringement under common US trademark law, or that any ensuing litigation or dispute will lead to a favorable outcome. If you want or have an interest in obtaining legal advice with respect to a specific situation or set of circumstances, you should consult with the lawyer of your choice.

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