To profoundly understand what a dead trademark is, let’s first discuss what a trademark is and its purpose. A trademark is a specific and distinct logo, image, design, phrase, etc., which distinguishes one source’s products or services from another.
Trademark owners include individuals, corporations, and legal agencies. Aside from that, trademarks are often found on packages, on labels, or directly on products. Even if you don’t notice it, everyone deals with trademarks regularly as it is just another way of referring to brands.
Business people must understand why trademarks are important assets and help their business expand. However, what will happen if the trademark of your business dies? Read more to know about dead trademarks.
What Are Dead Trademarks?
Specifically, a dead trademark is a trademark that is no longer accepted or recognized by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). There are several common causes for a patent to expire. If a trademark lapses or expires for whatever reason, it might be challenging to register for it again.
However, bear in mind that just because the registration of a trademark is expired, that does not mean that the trademark owner isn’t still using the trademark. Conduct research in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office registry before initiating the trademark application process. You could see that all trademarks in the index are either LIVE or DEAD.
How Do Trademarks Die?
The two common causes of a dead trademark are:
Abandonment happens when a trademark holder refuses to use a trademark with no intent of using it again in the future. As stated at revisionlegal.com/trademark/before-registering-a-dead-trademark-here-is-what-you-need-to-know/, if the owner does not use the trademark for three straight years, the trademark shall be dead. Moreover, the owner should also renew it once every ten years.
The trademark owner may also abandon the registered trademark by expressly advising the USPTO of the owner’s intention to abandon the registered trademark. However, the express abandonment of the USPTO registration does not impair the trademark owner’s right to use the trademark continuously.
A trademark owner often licenses the use of its trademark to other corporations. In such cases, the trademark owner must control and supervise the use of the trademark to ensure that the licensee creates the same products or services. Otherwise, the licensee may poach the trademark, and the court may ruin the owner’s rights to the trademark.
Does Dead Trademark Can Still Be Revived?
Registration of a dead trademark can be a challenging process. If someone allows a trademark to expire or fail, you will have a hard time registering for the trademark in the future. When a trademark dies, it generally means that the owner has allowed the registration to expire or that the USPTO has terminated the trademark for some other reason.
Although the trademark has lost its official status, it still has common law trademark infringement rights. If you intend to claim a dead trademark, you can speak to a lawyer to ensure that you do not infringe on others’ common-law rights. Even without registration, owners can continue to use a trademark.
Does Dead Trademark Worthy Investment?
A company that intends to acquire a dead trademark must proceed with caution. To determine if a dead trademark is worth investing in depends on the history of the trademark itself. It might be difficult and risky, but getting the support of a qualified intellectual property attorney will save such a company a tremendous amount of time and money by doing it correctly. Explained below is the process of acquiring a dead trademark.
Firstly, the business should assess whether the trademark is, in fact, dead by undertaking an extensive and diligent internet search for current use and a scan for the trademark database of the USPTO.
If the USPTO database indicates that the patent is extinct since it has been abandoned, note that the owner might still have viable rights to use the trademark. If you’re using it, you may face the risk that the owner will sue for trademark infringement. In such a situation, you can attempt to contact the trademark holders to ascertain if the owner either claims or plans to use the trademark in the future.
Furthermore, a trademark that has not been used for three straight years is likely to be available for use. However, if the original owner can assert its intention to resume usage of the brand, it might be able to prohibit your use and win a trademark infringement claim against your use of it. This potential revival of a dead trademark relies on its value, how widespread the original mark was, and how many individuals can still recognize it.
At the end of this, trademarks are indeed a valuable asset. The more your business reputation develops, the more relevant your brand will be. If you plan to acquire a dead trademark, make sure to conduct extensive research about it, if it is worth reviving and what the risks are that it gives. Being informed and knowledgeable makes you avoid possible business complications. We hope that this article helps you to be enlightened about dead trademarks.
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