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Trademark Myth #6: Trademarks last forever

Some things last forever: strong and deep love, a Nalgene water bottle, radiation from nuclear waste, or memories (as long as you don’t get dementia). People often wonder how long trademarks last. Others mistakenly believe that once registered, a USPTO registration lasts indefinitely. The idea that trademarks last forever exists just as another myth.

Owners of trademark registrations must file post-registration registration maintenance documents in order to maintain trademark registrations. Between 5th and 6th year following registration, the registrant must file a declaration of use, which can be combined with a declaration of incontestability (known as the “8 and 15”). Then, the registrant needs to file a Combined Declaration of Use and Application for Renewal between the 9th and 10th years after registration, and every 10 years thereafter. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will cancel registrations whose renewal documents are not timely filed. These registrations, once cancelled, cannot be revived or reinstated, except during a small grace period following each deadline. If an application is filed as an “Intent to Use,” a Statement of use or extension request MUST be filed, or the application will become “abandoned” and the process will need to be re-initiated.


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