If you don’t renew your trade mark rights before the registration expires, you could lose your trade mark. Even worse, a competitor could swoop in and snap up your mark.
So, it’s absolutely crucial to understand the trade mark renewal and maintenance process. In this short guide, we’ll explain all the key information that you need to know about renewing a trade mark in the UK, but we also recommend you familiarise yourself with the timelines and process in any other countries where you’ve registered.
When you successfully register a trade mark in the UK, it is initially valid for ten years. After the initial ten-year period, you are responsible for renewing the registration to maintain your trade mark protection. Failure to renew within a specified timeframe may result in the loss of your rights.
Failing to renew your trade mark can have serious implications for your business. A lapse in trade mark protection means that you no longer have the exclusive rights to use your brand identifier, which can open the door to counterfeit products and services diluting your brand. More alarmingly, if a competitor registers your trade mark after it expires, they could potentially hold you liable for infringement if you continue to use it, leading to costly legal disputes or rebranding.
Fortunately, the UKIPO provides clear guidelines for renewal, including the necessary forms and the fees. However, it is advisable to monitor any changes to renewal procedures, which can happen from time to time.
It is crucial to be aware of the renewal deadline to avoid any lapses in trade mark protection. A renewal application can be submitted six months before the expiry date. There is also a grace period after expiry, whereby trademark owners can renew for up to six months after the expiry date. In some cases, you can apply by post up to 12 months after expiry, although this is risky and requires an explanation of why the renewal was not completed on time, which will be considered by UKIPO before a decision is made.
To initiate the renewal process, you should complete the necessary forms and pay the appropriate renewal fee to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). It is essential to ensure accurate and up-to-date information during renewal, including any changes to your business name or address.
Keeping track of the renewal date for your trade mark is crucial, but calendars and internal systems can change over the course of ten years, so the date can easily be lost. Engaging an experienced intellectual property lawyer will enable you to receive timely reminders and updates regarding the upcoming renewal deadline.
During the renewal process, you may have to assess whether any changes to your trade mark have occurred that could impact its registration. Changes could involve shifts in your business activities, changes in branding, or modifications to your trade mark itself. Consulting with a lawyer will help you navigate these considerations and ensure you maintain comprehensive protection for your brand.
You may need to file additional trade mark applications if the business has evolved in a way that is not covered under the original mark.
When submitting your renewal application, you should be prepared to provide various documents and pay the renewal fee. The required documentation typically includes the trade mark registration number, the relevant renewal form, and payment details. An experienced IP lawyer can guide you through this process, ensuring all necessary paperwork is accurately filled out and submitted promptly.
Trade mark renewal and maintenance are critical aspects of protecting your intellectual property. By understanding the renewal process and being vigilant about renewal deadlines, you can maintain uninterrupted trade mark protection for as long as you want. This is important because safeguarding your brand’s identity contributes to long-term success and recognition in the marketplace – and a trade mark is something that continues to increase in value over time, especially as your business and brand grows.
If you would like some specialist advice and support with renewing a trade mark, please get in touch and we will be happy to arrange a free consultation with one of our trademark lawyers.
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