Have a Trademark? Use It or Lose It.

2 minutes

Table of Contents

Picture of Andrew Rapacke
Andrew Rapacke is a registered patent attorney and serves as Managing Partner at The Rapacke Law Group, a full service intellectual property law firm.

Did you know that even if you hold a certificate of registration for a trademark, you still could potentially face the risk of losing your trademark protection status? The age-old expression “use it, or lose it” is applicable in the world of trademark rights. You must use trademarks in commerce in order to retain the protected status of the trademark. When trademarks are not used for long periods of time, and trademark owners have no intention of using the trademark in the future, the trademark can become abandoned.

When the Validity of a Trademark is in Question

Trademarks that are regularly and consistently used in commerce are generally considered to be valid trademarks, even if they are not registered. Even better are trademarks that are federally registered. Registered trademarks are presumed to be valid (i.e., legitimate) trademarks that either are used or will soon be used in commerce for the sales of goods or services. It is when the validity of a trademark comes into question that the trademark could be deemed abandoned.

There are a number of factors which can put a trademark at risk of abandonment. As an initial matter, one common cause of abandonment of a trademark is that the mark is not put to use by its owner. When the trademark owner does not use a trademark for a period of three years or more and has no intention of using the mark again in commerce in the future, the mark can go abandoned. Similarly, a trademark goes abandoned when the trademark registration expires (i.e., the trademark owner fails to renew the trademark’s registration), or if the trademark owner chooses to make an express abandonment of the trademark (i.e., officially abandons the trademark).

Trademark owners also put their trademarks at risk of going abandoned when they allow for trademark dilution to occur unchecked, fail to maintain control over licensees’ use of the trademark, or fail to exercise their trademark rights when infringement occurs. A trademark can also become abandoned if the consuming public starts to use the trademark as a generic term to refer to the product or service the mark is used with.

If you’re wondering about how trademark protection works overseas, check out this article on international trademarks.

Reach Out to A RLG Trademark Lawyer Today

If you are concerned that your trademark might at risk of abandonment, or you have questions or concerns about trademark abandonment, you can reach out to a knowledgeable trademark attorney at The Rapacke Law Group. Our skilled and friendly trademark lawyers have helped countless clients navigate the world of trademark rights, and we can help you too. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Schedule a Free Strategy Call
  • Get help identifying what type of IP protection may the best fit for your situation.
  • We explain every step of the IP protection process
  • Get answers to your questions.

Recommended for you

Want more actionable IP tips like this delivered straight to your inbox?