In Texas, a business can file for federal trademark registration. A trademark protects a company’s name, logo or other type of identifying mark from being used by another business or person. Registering and receiving approval is not the only requirement when owning a federal trademark. It is only the beginning. A business must keep abreast of all maintenance deadlines. This is commonly called trademark maintenance.
Failing to comply with post-registration trademark deadlines may cause the government to cancel the trademark ownership. This means that anyone can then use the trademarked name, picture or logo for their own use. To keep a trademark active, it’s important to follow the instructions outlined by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Understand the Type of Maintenance Required to Keep the Trademark Active
To keep a trademark active, a business owner must do a series of things. The first is to renew the trademark every 10 years by filing the appropriate papers. The trademark owner must pay in taxes each year they own the trademark. Another requirement is called proof of renewal of basic registration. This is a document sent as proof of ownership regarding the trademark. Another thing a trademark owner must do is file an affidavit.
File an Affidavit Prior to The Trademark Expiration Date
Between the fifth and sixth year after the trademark was registered, a Section 8 Affidavit must be filed. If it is not filed within this time, the USPTO will allow the affidavit to be filed six months after the sixth year. However, the trademark owner must pay additional fees during this grace period. This requirement is only if the trademark owner uses the trademark in commerce. The trademark owner must also file a Declaration of Use of Mark in Commerce and renewal application during the ninth and 10 years after the registration date.
Beware of Trademark Scams involving Keeping the Trademark Active
Close to the time a trademark expires, the USPTO may send reminders about keeping the trademark active. Unfortunately, some companies will do the same. Close to the expiration date, a business may send a trademark owner letter regarding their trademark. The letters will offer to renew the trademark on their owner’s behalf. Many of the companies are scammers trying to get money without renewing the trademark.
Some companies offering their renewal services are legitimate. Unfortunately, they may charge high fees for doing the work of renewing the trademark. These companies may charge hundreds of dollars. That charge doesn’t include the fees covered by USPTO fees to renew the trademark.
Contact a Texas Trademark Attorney Regarding Maintaining a Trademark
To find the registration date, check online. The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) will have the date. Also, the registration certificate sent when the trademark was approved will have the registration date. The five-year window starts the fifth year from the date of registration. It’s best to contact a trademark attorney to avoid missing vital deadlines regarding keeping a trademark active.