Question: How long does a trademark last? Do they expire?
Answer: Once a trademark registration is granted by the USPTO, it will last five years before another filing is required. However, if you shut down your business or stop offering your goods or services before then, the trademark will be considered abandoned from a legal perspective as it is no longer in use. As a result of this, if another party wanted to cancel your registration on the grounds that you were no longer using it, they would be allowed to do that at any time after your trademark is registered and not in use.
If you continue doing business and selling the goods and services listed in your application, you will be required to file a Section 8 Declaration of Continued Use five years after your registration was granted. This filing is essentially a renewal of your registration.
These trademark renewal deadlines can also be looked at from the perspective of an expiration date–while trademarks do not necessarily expire, they do require these renewal filings in order to maintain active registrations. If a trademark owner fails to make a renewal filing in a timely manner, the registration will be at risk of abandonment. If this renewal filing is intentionally not submitted because the trademark is no longer in use, then the mark will abandon, or expire.
Renewal filings require that you prove to the USPTO that you are still offering all the goods and services that you listed in your trademark registration in commerce. With this filing, you must also update the goods and/or services listed in your trademark registration to ensure they match what you are currently offering, which includes removing any items that you are no longer offering. The accuracy of this update is imperative due to the USPTO’s audit program. If a registration is audited, the owner must be able to prove that they are offering every good and/or service listed in the registration, or else it may be subject to cancellation.
After you file the Section 8 Declaration of Continued Use at the five year mark, the next filing will be due between the 9th and 10th year of your registration date. At this point, you must file a formal renewal with proof, again, that you are still using your trademark in commerce. Once this is filed, the trademark will be good for another 10 years before another renewal is due.
Ultimately, a federal trademark registration can last forever, but it requires that you keep up with all of the renewal deadlines and continue to offer your goods and services in the marketplace.