How long a trademark lasts depends on the type of trademark in question. There are generally two different types of trademark rights that can be acquired.
Common Law Trademarks
First, a trademark owner can acquire what are called “common law” trademark rights just by simply using the mark in commerce. Common law trademark rights last as long as the trademark is used. So long as it is in continuous use, a common law trademark can last forever.
Trademark Registered with the USPTO
A trademark owner can also file a federal trademark application to register the trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). To keep a trademark registered with the USPTO, a registrant needs to complete specific steps:
- Between the 5th and 6th year anniversary of the registration date, the registrant must file a Section 8 affidavit to show continuous use.
- Between the 9th and 10th year anniversary of the original registration date, the registrant must file a Section 8 & 9 affidavit.
- After that, the registration must be renewed for the successive 10-year period thereafter.
Fo example, if a trademark is registered on January 1, 2020, then a Section 8 must be filed between January 1, 2025 and January 1, 2026. After that, a Section 8 & 9 affidavit must be filed between January 1, 2029 and January 1, 2030. If any renewal deadlines lapse, there is a 6-month grace period to file the appropriate affidavit. Filing a renewal during the grace period will require an additional government fee. Failure to file a renewal by the end of a corresponding grace period will cause the registration to be canceled.