Not renewing your trademark has severe consequences. In case you do not apply for renewal, your trademark registration may be removed. In this article, we have outlined everything you need to know about maintaining your brand’s identity.
A trademark helps businesses and companies protect their brand image. It essentially acts as a protective measure against people stealing your logo, brand name, or brand image. Therefore, anyone who has run a business or company knows how important it is to have a valid trademark. However, it is also equally important to make sure that the mark you have is legally valid. Since every trademark has a period of validity, renewing them is of utmost importance.
Are you still unsure about how to renew a trademark or why it is essential? Here’s a look at why trademark renewal is necessary and how you can do it quickly!
What Is a Trademark?
A trademark works as a formal business name, logo or umbrella term that includes both your business name and logo. Essentially, a trademark helps customers differentiate between products and services of competing brands. Furthermore, it also protects your company’s products or services from counterfeiters. In essence, trademarks work like intellectual property protectors which help you ensure that your brand identity stays yours.
Trademarks may contain symbols, names, logos, colour combinations, and phrases or any and all of them. These marks are validated by adding an ® at the end. All of such registration and branding occurs under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. Furthermore, a trademark that is offensive, non-unique or containing government associated symbols cannot be registered in India.
In March 2017, the government brought in the Trade Mark Rules, 2017, to streamline the application process. This step has helped set admirable benchmarks with regard to filing trademark applications, as it promotes the e-filing of trademarks.
What Is Trademark Renewal?
A trademark registration remains valid only for ten years. Beyond this, if you want to have a legally binding trademark, you need to renew the mark. Trademark renewal ensures that all the rights related to the trademark get extended for a few more years. In case the owner fails to renew their mark once the validity expires, the trademark will no longer be valid. Therefore, the owner will not have any protection that comes with trademark registration.
Procedure for Trademark Renewal
- The owner must apply to renew the trademark, through Form TM-12
- This form must be submitted 6 months before the expiry date of the trademark registration
- In case no application is filed within 3 months of expiry, the Registrar will serve a notice regarding the same
- Remember that if this notice is not sent to you, then your registration cannot be removed
- Along with Form TM-12, the owner must also pay the renewal fees that apply to them
- If you file the form but do not pay the fees, your registration may be removed.
What Happens if You Do Not Renew Your Trademark?
Not renewing your trademark has severe consequences. In case you do not apply for renewal, your trademark registration may be removed. Furthermore, in case you submit the form, but do not pay the fees, your listing may be removed. However, before removing the registration, the Registrar will advertise this intention in the Trademark Journal, so that you get another chance to renew your trademark.
If you fail to renew the mark even after this, it is not just the owner who will get affected, but also everyone who has either been assigned or licensed with the trademark. It will also negate all the legal rights the proprietors have. Moreover, it substantially weakens the owner’s legal position. It also eliminates the benefit of exclusivity and dilutes protection against infringement claims. In short, you will lose the absolute power that deters others from using your trademark
Since the Registrar knows how vital the trademark is, they allow you to renew the mark, for up to 6 months after your registration’s expiry date. To do so, the applicant must file form TM-10 and pay the required surcharge.
Restoration of Trademark
In case the renewal period of the trademark lapses, and you fail to file TM-12, owners have the option of going in for trademark restoration. This is the process that is used when the renewal period ends. Restoration of the trademark can happen within 6 months to one year after the date of the expiry of the registration.
To restore a trademark, the owner must file Form TM-13. Once the Registrar receives such a request, they will advertise the mark, to ensure that no other company has started using it. Once the advertising is done, and they are sure no one objects to the trademark being restored, the mark will be re-registered into the Register of Trademarks. This restoration will keep the trademark active and valid for another 10 years.