A registered trademark is an essential asset for your business. It can help you secure the rights to a name, logo, or another identifying symbol. A registered trademark will also protect you from others trying to use your mark in their businesses.
Suppose you’ve registered your trademark by making use of a trademark registration service, and you don’t maintain your registered trademark by following specific rules established by the trademark governing body in your country. In that case, it could become vulnerable to cancellation or infringement claims by others who want to use it for their purposes.
This article explains how you can keep your registered trademarks strong, maintained, and protected.
Place The Trademark Symbol On All Uses Of Your Mark
The trademark symbol is an ‘R’ in a circle, which indicates that the trademark is registered. Using this symbol helps prevent confusion between your mark and other marks. The trademark symbol must be used as part of the mark, not separate from it.
For example, if your company’s name is ‘Y2K Company,’ don’t place an ‘R’ next to the words’ Y2K Company’; instead, use only the letter’ R’ within your logo or design.
Use Your Trademark In Its Exact Form
Another essential step in maintaining your trademark is using it exactly as registered. You should use the exact form of your mark in all uses, including online, social media, and advertising.
If you use an unregistered version of your trademark that suggests it’s generic or merely ornamental, you risk losing rights to that mark entirely.
If a competitor can prove they used the same mark before you did, they could get a court order to cancel your registration and prevent you from using it again in its registered form.
State That The Mark Is Registered
The next step is to state that the mark is registered with your country’s trademark office. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires this information to keep its records current and accurate and ensure that applications are processed correctly.
The registration number should be stated first, followed by a colon, and then the filing date of your application. After that, list the current status of your mark (e.g., “in use”). Make sure to include both dates for each renewal: when it was renewed last time and when it’ll be next year (or however long you have left before renewing).
Monitor The Market For Other People Using Your Trademark
Maintaining your trademark rights is essential to ensure you don’t lose control over your mark. You can protect yourself from this by monitoring the market for third-party uses of your mark.
As part of your monitoring efforts, look for any signs that others are using a similar or identical mark in connection with identical goods or services covered by your trademark registration and whether they use it on their products or services.
For example, if someone else is already selling clothing online under the name ‘Rich Wears,’ it would raise concerns because it would be confusingly similar to ‘Big Wears.’
It would help if you did some research when you find potential issues with other people’s use of similar or identical marks in connection with similar goods or services rendered by your registered company. You should consider whether they’re infringing upon yours by providing evidence that they’re doing so deliberately (e.g., if they have been notified multiple times).
If this turns out to be accurate, then contact them directly, saying that their use of these trademarks violates federal law and demanding immediate action towards changing their behavior immediately.
Enforce Your Rights Against Infringers
If you find a trademark infringing on your registered trademark, it’s essential to take immediate action. Communicate with the infringer and see if they’re willing to stop using the mark or change it. If they’re not willing or unable to make these changes, you can pursue legal action against them.
Monitor the market for trademark infringement. You should constantly monitor the marketplace for potential sources of trademark infringement by keeping an eye out for products that may compete with yours and similar trade names that confuse customers who will mistake them as two different companies, even if they aren’t related.
Update Your Registration To Include New Goods And Services
As the trademark holder, you must maintain a current and accurate record of your registered marks. To do this, you must update your registration at least once every ten years.
You can add or change goods and services by filing an amendment to your existing application under Section 7(a). Alternatively, you may file a new application for the same mark on different goods or services (also known as an’ extension’) under Section 1(a).
You can update your trademark registration by either amending the original application or filing a new one during renewal. However, if you wait until after the 10th-anniversary date when it’s time for renewal, you’ll have missed the deadline for updating your trademark registration with new goods and services.
Renew Your Registration Every Ten Years
To continue using your trademark, you must renew it every ten years. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) publishes a list of upcoming deadlines for all registered trademarks in the Official Gazette. If you fail to file for renewal within six months of your registration’s expiration date, the registration will lapse and become available for someone else to use.
You can renew online via the USPTO website or mail using Form 976a (payment by check is accepted). The cost depends on how many goods and services you’re using the mark for.
If your mark is used as a trademark or service mark, then there is no fee; if your mark is used as an internet domain name, then there are different fees based on whether or not this use also involves other’ goods,’ like shirts and hats emblazoned with the said domain name.
A trademark is no doubt an essential part of your business. After applying and getting registered, it’s crucial to ensure that you maintain your registered trademark (s) to avoid issues later in your business operations.
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