Once you have secured a federal trademark registration, you need to think about trademark maintenance. They are not complex steps, but if they are not followed, you risk losing your trademark rights. This can be costly in a number of ways. This article highlights three important ways to do proper trademark maintenance.

Gentleman maintaining equipment.

As you would with any other valuable property, you must maintain your trademark.

How To Do Trademark Maintenance

Once you have a registered trademark, you have the responsibility to do trademark maintenance. Let’s go over some of the things that you need to know in order to keep your trademark rights going:

  • File Section 8 Declarations: Between the fifth and sixth year after registering your trademark, you need to file a Section 8 Declaration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A Section 8 Declaration is a simple document that says that you are still using the trademark. This lets the USPTO know that your mark should be kept in the trademark database. If you don’t file in time, the USPTO will cancel your trademark and you will have to start from square one.
  • Don’t Let Your Trademark Become Generic: You can lose your trademark rights if your trademark becomes “generic”. In fact, this is called “genericide” – death by becoming generic. Think of terms like “xerox”, “kleenex”, “escalator”, “google”. Those terms all started life as trademarks, but some of them have become generic terms. Large companies spend a good deal of money attempting to avoid this fate (even if they can’t completely stop people from using their trademarks generically).
  • Enforce Your Trademark Rights: Once you have trademark rights, you have a duty to maintain your trademark by enforcing your rights. Your trademark protects your brand, so trademark owners need to be vigilant and make sure that nobody else infringes by using too similar of a trademark. It is important to act quickly as an unreasonable delay in enforcing your rights might bar your ability to take action.

These are just a few of the things that trademark owners need to do to make sure that their trademark keeps its value. They are not difficult, but they are important. Don’t be afraid to contact trademark counsel to help you create a strategy to protect your brand and to maintain your trademark rights.

Remember: brand protection is a process and trademark maintenance is a key part of that process.

Creators’ Legal Program Member Content: What to do when your trademark is registered.

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