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Can a Trademark Be Renewed?

Trademark registrations need to be renewed at certain periods for the owner to keep the registration and the benefits of having a registered trademark. In a way, trademark registrations are similar to food items as they both have an expiration or best-before date.

However, trademark registrations can be renewed unlike food items and other perishable goods. Upon renewal, trademark owners gain a new expiration date, basically extending the duration or length of time you can continue using your trademark exclusively in commerce.

Failure to renew your trademark by the deadlines could result in the expiration or cancellation of the mark’s registration. Not only can a trademark registration be renewed; it is actually required for business owners who want to maintain exclusive usage of their registered marks.

Click here if you want more background on the meaning of a trademark.

Requirements for Maintaining Trademark Registration

Here in the U.S., all trademark registrations (as well as applications) are handled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). There are three requirements businesses or trademark owners should meet in order to renew and maintain a U.S. trademark registration. These include:

  • Continue using the registered trademark in interstate business dealings

  • Ensure that all correspondence details, such as email addresses, are updated and current with the USPTO

  • File the required registration maintenance documents on time and pay all necessary fees

As per the first requirement, trademark owners must show proof that they use their registered marks in interstate commerce. This is done by submitting samples of goods or other specimens bearing the trademark. You will need to submit one specimen per class of goods or services you use the trademark on. You may need to show more if the USPTO conducts an audit on your file.

In general, if you do not continue using the registered trademark in interstate businesses, you may be unable to renew and/or maintain the registration. Missing the deadlines because of this can cause the trademark registration to expire or get canceled.

When Do You Have To Renew a Trademark Registration?

The USPTO has three major deadlines that trademark owners must abide by in order to keep their registrations alive.

  • First Renewal: The first renewal deadline falls between the fifth and sixth year after your registration date. If you registered your trademark in 2018, then your first renewal deadline needs to be completed between 2023 and 2024. For this renewal, you only need to file the Declaration of Use and/or Excusable Nonuse under Section 8.

  • Second Renewal: The second renewal deadline falls between the 9th and 10th year after your initial trademark registration. This renewal requires you to file combined forms for Declaration of Use under Section 8 and Application for Renewal under Section 9.

  • Third and Future Renewals. All subsequent registration renewals will be due every 10 years after the second trademark renewal. This means the deadlines will fall between the 19th and 20th years, the 29th and 30th years, and so on. You will need to file the same combined forms used for the second renewal.

There is also an optional deadline and maintenance form trademark owners can submit. Any time after five years of using their registered mark, trademark owners can submit a Declaration of Incontestability under Section 15. This form means you claim incontestable rights to the validity of your mark registration.

If the renewal or maintenance filing due date falls on a weekend (Saturday and Sunday) or a federal holiday, the filing could still be considered on time as long as it is done by the next business day.

What Happens if You Miss a Trademark Renewal Deadline?