So you’ve gone to all the time and expense of developing a brand, establishing goodwill in the marketplace and even registering your trade-mark – now what? Just like the title says, use it or lose it. The rights and responsibilities that come along with trade-mark registration are important to keep in mind.

1. A mark only has rights so long as it is used in conjunction with the goods or services that its registration is associated with. If you stop using the mark, a competitor can have your mark expunged from registration; this includes not using the mark in conjunction with the goods and services that its registration is associated with, but still using it in association with other goods and services.

2. If you do expand the scope of usage to include goods and services not in the original registration, you’ll need to apply to have those categories added. Failure to do so may weaken your rights in the trade-mark.

3. Make sure no one else is using your mark. Trade-mark rights diminish if they become generic. If others use your trade-mark improperly, or as a generic term to describe certain goods and services, you could lose you trade-mark rights. This means you’ll need to keep an eye on your competitors, wherever they may be. Regular searches are key.

4. Renew your registration. Remember that trade-mark registration is a limited right, lasting for 15 years. After that, you’ll need to renew the mark’s registration every 15 years or your rights to it disappear.

If you have any questions about this topic, please contact us.

Scott R. Young