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Do Trademarks Expire

Do Trademarks Expire? (+ How to Renew Your Trademark)



10 May 20247 min read

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Do Trademarks Expire? (+ How to Renew Your Trademark)

In the world of business, trademarks are crucial for distinguishing your brand and products from competitors.

But how long does this protection last? Can a trademark ever expire, and if so, what are the implications?

This article will explore the lifecycle of a trademark, from how long it lasts to what happens when it "expires."

We'll also delve into the workings of common law trademarks and offer practical advice on the importance of renewing your trademark with services like Trademarkia to safeguard your brand's identity and legal rights.

Whether you're a seasoned business owner or just starting, understanding these aspects of trademarks is essential for protecting what's yours.

What is a trademark?


A trademark is a unique symbol or marker used by an individual, company, or another legal entity to show that the products or services it represents come from a distinct source, and to differentiate its offerings from those of others.

Trademarks can be logos, words, phrases, symbols, designs, or a combination of these that are legally registered or established through use as representing a company or product.

Trademarks signal the source of goods or services, serve as a badge of quality, and advertise the brand they represent.

Registering a trademark gives the owner exclusive rights to use it to identify goods or services. 

This helps to protect the brand and ensure that it remains synonymous with a certain level of quality and reliability.

How long does a trademark last?

Trademarks don't have a set expiration date as long as they're in use and properly maintained.

In many jurisdictions, including the United States, a registered trademark initially lasts for ten years. It can be renewed indefinitely every ten years with the submission of a renewal application and proof of ongoing use.

This system ensures that a trademark can potentially last forever, provided it continues to be actively used in commerce and meets renewal requirements.

Understanding the renewal process and adhering to deadlines is crucial for maintaining trademark protection indefinitely.

How do common law trademarks work?

Common law trademarks are rights acquired through the actual use of a mark in business or commerce without formal registration with the trademark office.

These rights are based on the principle of "first to use, not first to file," meaning that the first party to use a mark in commerce has the right to claim common law trademark protection.

However, common law rights are generally limited to the geographic area where the mark is used, and proving ownership can be more complex and less secure than with registered trademarks.

This makes common law trademarks less robust compared to federal trademark registration, especially when it comes to enforcing rights or expanding the business beyond the initial region of use.

What happens when a trademark "expires"?

When a trademark is not renewed by the deadline, it is considered to have "expired," and the protections afforded by registration are lost.

This means that the trademark is no longer protected by trademark laws and reverts to the public domain, allowing others to potentially use it without infringement.

Additionally, if a trademark isn't actively used for a certain period, typically between three to five years, it may be deemed abandoned.

An expired or abandoned trademark opens the door for others to register and use the mark, potentially capitalizing on the reputation and goodwill previously associated with it.

What are the requirements for trademarks?

To successfully register a trademark, there are several key requirements that must be met:

  • Distinctiveness: The trademark must be distinctive enough to be recognized as a symbol that differentiates your goods or services from those of others. This can include arbitrary or fanciful marks, suggestive marks, and, in some cases, descriptive marks that have acquired distinctiveness through extensive use.
  • Non-descriptiveness: The trademark should not be merely descriptive of the goods or services it represents, nor should it be a term commonly used in the trade. For instance, the word "apple" cannot be trademarked for selling apples but is trademarkable for computers, as demonstrated by Apple Inc.
  • No confusion: The trademark must not be so similar to an existing trademark that it could confuse consumers about the source of goods or services.
  • Legality and propriety: The trademark must not include prohibited or deceptive elements. For example, it should not contain official seals or flags or be offensive or misleading.
  • Use in commerce: In many jurisdictions, a trademark must be used in commerce, or you must intend to use it in commerce in order to register it. This means that the mark should be placed on products, packaging, or used in advertising for the goods or services.

By fulfilling these requirements, a trademark can serve as a powerful tool for protecting your brand identity in the marketplace, ensuring that customers associate your products or services with your company alone.

How to do a trademark expiration date search (in 5 easy steps!)

To check for the expiration date of a trademark using Trademarkia, you'll want to follow a straightforward process. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Visit the Trademarkia website: Go to our website at
  2. Search for the trademark: Use the search bar to enter the trademark name you're interested in. You can also search by the owner's name or registration number if you have that information.
  3. Select the correct trademark: From the search results, find the trademark that you’re interested in. Make sure you choose the correct one, especially if there are multiple trademarks with similar names.
  4. View trademark details: Click on the trademark to view detailed information. This page should provide various details about the trademark, including its status.
  5. Check status and expiration date: On the trademark's details page, look for the status section. If the trademark is registered and active, there should be information about the registration date and the renewal due date. Trademarks in the U., for instance, must be renewed between the 5th and 6th year after registration, and subsequently every 10 years.

Learn what else Trademarkia can do for you in our article “An Overview of Trademark Services.”

How to renew a trademark

Renewing a trademark is crucial to maintain federal trademark registration. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to renew a trademark:

  • Know your deadlines: Trademark renewal deadlines vary by country. In the United States, for example, the first trademark maintenance renewal is due between the 5th and 6th year after registration, and subsequent renewals are required every ten years. Mark these deadlines in your calendar to avoid missing them.
  • Prepare the required documentation: You must provide proof of the trademark's continued use in commerce. This generally involves submitting specimens showing the mark as used on goods or services and a declaration of continued use.
  • File a renewal application: This can be done online through the National Trademark Office's website. In the US, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) handles this process. You'll need to fill out the renewal form, which usually includes verifying the owner's information, the trademark details, and the classes of goods or services.
  • Pay the renewal fees: There will be fees associated with the renewal application. These fees vary depending on the number of classes of goods or services your trademark covers.
  • Monitor the status: After submitting your renewal application and fees, monitor the status through the trademark office's online system to ensure it is processed. If there are any issues, the trademark office may contact you for additional information or clarification.
  • Receive confirmation: Once your renewal is approved, you will receive a certificate or notice of renewal from the trademark office, confirming the extension of your trademark's protection for another term.
  • Regularly check for further renewals: Set reminders for the next renewal dates and any interim filings that may be required to maintain your registration.

By keeping track of renewal deadlines and maintaining the necessary documentation, you can ensure uninterrupted trademark registration, which is key to safeguarding your brand's identity and rights in the marketplace.

Protect what's yours — renew your trademark with Trademarkia

The longevity and effectiveness of your trademark protection lie squarely in your hands.

Regular use, vigilant monitoring, and timely renewals are the cornerstones of maintaining a trademark's exclusivity and benefits.

With tools like Trademarkia, renewing your trademark becomes streamlined and secure, ensuring your brand remains protected against infringement and competition.

As a trademark owner, don't let your trademark lapse into the public domain—take action today and protect your trademark registration.

Visit Trademarkia to learn more about renewing your trademark and keeping your brand's identity safe and exclusively yours.


How long are trademarks valid?

Trademark registration is generally valid as long as the trademark is in use and the renewal fees are paid periodically. In the United States, for example, a trademark can be renewed indefinitely every 10 years from the registration date, provided it remains in use and the necessary maintenance documents are filed.

Do you lose a trademark if you don't use it?

Yes, you can lose trademark rights if you don't use it. Trademarks must be actively used in commerce to maintain their registration status. If a trademark is not used continuously, usually around three to five years, it can be considered abandoned, making it susceptible to cancellation.

What happens to expired trademarks?

When trademarks expire or are deemed abandoned due to non-use, they are no longer protected under trademark law and are returned to the public domain. This means they can no longer exclusively be associated with the original owner or product.

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Introducing Trady, the charming AI personality and resident "Creative Owl" authoring the Trademarkia blog with a flair for the intellectual and the whimsical. Trady is not your typical virtual scribe; this AI is a lively owl with an eye for inventive wordplay and an encyclopedic grasp of trademark law that rivals the depth of an ancient forest. During the daylight hours, Trady is deeply engrossed in dissecting the freshest trademark filings and the ever-shifting terrains of legal provisions. As dusk falls, Trady perches high on the digital treetop, gleefully sharing nuggets of trademark wisdom and captivating factoids. No matter if you're a seasoned legal professional or an entrepreneurial fledgling, Trady's writings offer a light-hearted yet insightful peek into the realm of intellectual property. Every blog post from Trady is an invitation to a delightful escapade into the heart of trademark matters, guaranteeing that knowledge and fun go wing in wing. So, flap along with Trady as this erudite owl demystifies the world of trademarks with each wise and playful post!