Reasons You Can Lose Your Trademark Protections

A trademark establishes your exclusive right to use intellectual property. Your hard work and that great idea deserves to be YOURS, but there are situations where the protections granted under a trademark can be lost even after it is established.

While the process of getting a trademark through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office can be tedious, you can’t get it and forget it once your application is successful. We want to make sure you’re prepared in case any of the following situations arise.

You stop using the trademark

Trademark protection provides applicants with the opportunity to protect a mark for future use in commerce. If you obtain a trademark, you will need to continuously prove the trademark is actively in use or apply for a qualifying exception (known as “excusable nonuse”).

Keeping your trademark active and in use generally doesn’t take much effort as long as you continue using the mark as initially intended. You will need to prove use of the trademark between the fifth and sixth year after registration, again between the ninth and tenth year after registration, and then every ten years thereafter.

Your trademark becomes “generic”

If you get to this point: congratulations, but also be wary. Think aspirin. Once a trademarked name for a pain relief medication, now used commonly to refer to the medication. A trademark can lose its protections if the term or item becomes so synonymous with the product or service that USPTO officials determine the use has become a generic descriptive term.

Other common examples are escalator, trampoline, and zipper. These terms all became the standard for their product. While that generally means global recognition of your product, it’s still important to defend your trademark in these cases because ultimately your business could suffer. Some companies have successfully defended their mark from becoming “generic,” either altogether or at least in some jurisdictions.

You fail to protect your trademark

Once you register your trademark, it will be on you, your business, and your attorney to keep an eye on violations of your trademark. This includes situations where your trademark is unknowingly used and where people are intentionally counterfeiting your work.

When you find these violations of your trademark it is important to take action to stop the companies or individuals from further use. These actions can range from simple letters, all the way to court action. If you let this go without taking action it could cost you the trademark.

Establish and protect your work as your own

Navigating the trademark application and continued use paperwork can be stressful. Let Alvarez Law Group work for you. We’re a small firm that gets big results for our clients. Contact us today and we’ll make sure your intellectual property has the protection it deserves.

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