A trademark is one of the best intellectual property assets that a business can own. Unlike patents and copyrights that have a deadline to their exclusive right to use, trademarks can exist in perpetuity provided that the trademark is used and the trademark owner follows the correct steps in keeping the trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Once a trademark owner obtains a trademark the most important action that the owner needs to take is that it uses the trademark in commerce. Continued use of the trademark is one of the requirements for continuing to avail yourself of having the exclusive right to use your trademark. Second, you must advise the USPTO that you are using the trademark and lastly, you must pay a fee in connection with the declaration and request for renewal. Between the 5th and 6th year from the date of your trademark registration date, you will need to file a declaration with the USPTO stating that your trademark is still in use and you will need to provide a specimen of the trademark in connection with the goods and/or services that you are providing. Between the 9th and 10th year from the date of registration, you must file another declaration stating that the trademark is in use along with a specimen and you must file a request for renewal of the trademark with the USPTO. Thereafter, you must file every ten years to advise the USPTO that you continue to use your trademark for the goods and/or services for which the trademark is registered. Although there is a short grace period, all of these deadlines must be strictly adhered to as a failure to file the declaration of use, or request for renewal will result in a cancellation of the trademark registration. If the trademark is canceled you will lose the powerful national trademark protection and will need to begin the trademark application registration process all over again.