What do you do if you have forgotten to renew your brand dominion, also known as your trademark? There have been a few famous cases of things like this happening in recent years. For instance, Sony forgot to renew their Bloodborne & Kill Strain trademarks, which are associated with popular games. This also happened with their Last Guardian trademark.
The official reason for the company having to give up their trademarks was stated as "abandoned - no statement of use or extension request" and had been filed upon receipt of the Notice of Allowance. Things were probably very tense for a while, but it worked out for Sony in the end. They were able to contain the United States Patents and Trademarks Office and were given a chance to fix their error rather than permanently abandon all of their hard work. If you forget this important step when it is time to renew your trademark, take heart because there are ways you can fix it.
What to do if You Have Forgotten to Renew Your Brand Dominion (Trademark)
Although it varies from country to country, most offer your trademark registration in increments of ten years. So, every ten years, you must pay the nominal fee and ensure that your brand is protected. If you have not submitted the paperwork and paid the fees in time, there is still recourse you can take to care for your trademark and all associated products and services. It may not seem fair, but the Trademark Office will not send you any sort of reminder when it is time to renew your brand.
Therefore, you must be diligent and make a note somewhere, which you will keep for ten years. There are doubtless filing methods and software that can remind you when the relevant year comes around. Renewal forms are known as a Section 8 affidavit.
Staying in The Loop
If your brand has now expired, you will have to contact the USPTO and, providing that no one else has noticed that your trademark has lapsed and purchased it for themselves, you will still have the option of keeping it. Unfortunately, you will have to file a new application for the same trademark, and go through the waiting period all over again.
One of the hidden dangers of forgetting to renew is that the rules for what you wish to trademark may change. If your brand has lapsed and no longer fits into the current rules, you may have lost it permanently. Your forms will need to be completed as though you never applied for your brand to receive the protection of trademark, and your brand will go through the same process as it did originally, before you can claim it as your own.
Trademark renewal: take Advantage of the Grace Period
Thankfully, you are able to renew your trademark registration either nine years after your original application or within six months of the registration expiry. This allows you to correct your mistake before time has made it impossible to proceed. There are additional fees associated with renewing during the grace period - you will need to file an Application for Renewal as well as an Affidavit of Use. The Affidavit of Use is your sworn statement describing the trademark and how it is currently used for commercial purposes.
The Cost of Trademark Renewal
It is not expensive to renew your brand. A few hundred dollars seems like a lot at the start but after you have been using your trademark for a decade, provided that it has given you success and profits, this will seem like a small price to pay. If you have not had much luck with the particular trademark that has lapsed, then perhaps it is for the best.