The trademark registration process ensures for extra provisions regarding protections and rights to the owner of trademark. The trademark itself is protected for as long as it is used in a commercial setting, and the proper trademark registration procedure is currently underway, or a registration certificate has be granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
However, trademark duration in terms of registration and actual protection are not one in the same. Trademark duration refers to the time that the mark itself is considered to be registered under federal legislature. The protection and rights to a trademark are inherent and granted upon the inception of the mark and its use in the commercial world.
Common law provides for the basic protection and rights for trademarks; trademark registration only furthers the protection and grants other rights. Trademark duration is based on a ten year period, depending on the date that such a trademark was actually registered.
The current term of ten years applies to all trademark registrations and renewals that were issued after November 16th, 1989; those issued before this date have a twenty year trademark duration period. However, a trademark registration can be perpetually renewed, as long as the renewal application is submitted after every ten year period, and the trademark is still in commercial use.
The only exception that exists is that for trademark registrations that have been issued and undergoing their first ten year term. These owners must apply for renewal at the end of six years from the date of registration. Consequently, a renewal must also be filed at the end of the first ten year term. In other words, a trademark that has been recently registered will essentially have to be renewed twice within its first ten year term.
After the first term, trademark duration will ten years from the date of the last renewal. At the end of each term, the application for renewal must also be accompanied by the imposed fee for trademark registration or renewal, as well as an affidavit asserting that the trademark is still in commercial use for the specified products or consumer goods, as well as any required specimens or copies of the original trademark.
For certain circumstances regarding the non-use of a trademark, an affidavit will be required explaining the nature of the non-use, as well as the intention to re-introduce the trademark into the commercial setting. It is at Director’s discretion to accept or refuse the renewal for a trademark duration period based on not meeting the required premises, and the Director shall notify the owner of such reasons.
This particular section of the trademark registration provisions of the Lanham Act also provide for a clause describing the procedures for a person seeking trademark administration not currently residing in the United States. The registrant may assign a resident of the United States to be notified and be responsible for certain proceeding regarding that particular trademark. However, such a notice of circumstance must be presented and appropriately filed with the Patent and Trademark Office.