Keeping your registration alive

If you own a trademark registration, you must file certain documents at regular intervals to maintain and renew your registration. If you don't file these documents before the deadline, your registration will be canceled or will expire, or your extension of protection to the U.S. will be invalidated (if you filed via WIPO under the Madrid system). 

Please note that your trademark registration is entitled to be maintained only for goods or services for which the mark is in use in commerce or for which temporary nonuse is excused due to special circumstances. Inaccurate or improper use claims in registration maintenance filings jeopardize the validity of your registration, so be careful to maintain your registration only for the goods and services with which your mark is still in use in commerce

For more information, see the following:

TMIN News 12: Post-registration video

 

Deadlines for filing registration maintenance documents

Note: These are for registrations not based on the Madrid Protocol. See below for information about Madrid-based registrations.

Required filings

You must file these documents within these deadlines to keep your trademark registration alive:

We send courtesy email reminders when you have an upcoming deadline for a maintenance filing. However, even if you don’t receive a reminder, you must still file these documents on time. 

Deadlines that fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday

If your maintenance filing is due on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, we consider it timely if we receive it on the following business day.

File early

File in the beginning of the year in which your required maintenance filing is due. Doing so should give you enough time to resolve any correctable errors without paying an additional fee if the USPTO rejects your filing.

Grace periods

There is a six-month grace period after each of the above deadlines. You can file during the grace period, but you'll need to pay an additional fee. If you don't file before the end of the grace period, your registration will be canceled or deemed expired. 

Optional filings

Declaration of Incontestability

If your mark is registered on the Principal Register and meets certain legal requirements, including at least five years continuous use in commerce, you may file an optional Declaration of Incontestability under section 15. If your mark qualifies for incontestability between the fifth and sixth years after registration, you can combine the filing with your §8 filing using the Combined Declarations of Use and Incontestability under section 8 and section 15 form. For more information, see TMEP section 1605.

Section 7 Amendment or Correction of Registration

To make a non-material correction or amendment to your registration, you can file an optional Section 7 Request for Amendment or Correction of Registration Certificate. For example, you must use this form to request that we delete goods or services from your registration if you're no longer using your trademark on those goods or in connection with those services. It is legally required that you keep your registration accurate so that it only lists those goods or services on which you are actually and currently using the mark in commerce. If you fail to do this prior to filing a maintenance document, you will incur additional fees. For information on the legal requirements, see TMEP section 1609.

Deadlines for registrations based on the Madrid Protocol 

If you don't know whether your registration is based on the Madrid Protocol, check the application serial number on your U.S. registration certificate. Trademark registrations based on the Madrid Protocol have application serial numbers that begin with "79."

Required filings

You must file these documents within these deadlines to keep your Madrid-based U.S. trademark registration alive:

We send courtesy email reminders when you have an upcoming deadline for a maintenance filing. However, even if you don’t receive a reminder, you must still file these documents on time. 

Deadlines that fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday

If your USPTO maintenance filing is due on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, we consider it timely if we receive it on the following business day.

File early

File in the beginning of the year in which your required maintenance filing is due. Doing so should give you enough time to resolve any correctable errors without paying an additional fee if the USPTO rejects your filing.

Grace periods

There is a six-month grace period after each of the above USPTO deadlines. You can file during the grace period, but you'll have to pay an additional fee. If you don't file before the end of the grace period, your registration will be canceled. 

Optional filings 

Declaration of Incontestability

If your mark is registered on the Principal Register and meets certain legal requirements, including at least five years continuous use in commerce, you may file an optional Declaration of Incontestability under section 15. If your mark qualifies for incontestability between the fifth and sixth years after registration, you can combine the filing with your §8 filing using the Combined Declarations of Use and Incontestability under section 8 and  section 15 form. For more information, see TMEP section 1605.

Section 7 Amendment or Correction of Registration

To make a non-material correction or amendment to your registration, you can file an optional Section 7 Request for Amendment or Correction of Registration Certificate. For example, you must use this form to request that we delete goods or services from your registration if you're no longer using your trademark on those goods or in connection with those services. It is legally required that you keep your registration accurate so that it only lists those goods or services on which you are actually and currently using the mark in commerce. For information on the legal requirements, see TMEP section 1609.

TEAS forms for registration maintenance

Common mistakes to avoid

Ensure all information in your post registration filings is accurate and current.

Ownership  

If the ownership information in your maintenance filing doesn't match the information in our electronic records, your filing could be refused. If ownership information has changed – whether the business was sold, changed its name, or for some other reason–you can file one of the following forms to record the change: 

Goods and services

Don't file to maintain your registration for goods or services with which your trademark is no longer in use in commerce. You must delete these goods and services from your registration when you file your section 8 or section 71 filing. If you want to delete them before that, you can use the Section 7 Request for Amendment or Correction of Registration Certificate form. If you delete the goods or services after you file your section 8 or section 71 filing and before the filing is accepted by the USPTO, you'll have to pay additional fees. For information about the limited situations when temporary nonuse may be excused, see TMEP section 1604.11

Specimens

If the specimen you provide doesn't show proper use in commerce of your trademark, your section 8 or section 71 filing may be refused and your registration canceled. See the Specimen webpage for more information. 

What happens next and timelines

After you file, your maintenance documents will be reviewed by a post registration trademark examiner. In about one to two months, the USPTO will issue one of the following: 

  • A notice. If your section 8 or section 71 declaration and/or section 9 renewal is acceptable, or your section 15 declaration can be acknowledged, the USPTO will send a Notice of Acceptance, Notice of Renewal, and/or Notice of Acknowledgement.
  • An updated registration certificate. If your section 7 request to amend or correct the registration is acceptable, the USPTO will send an updated registration certificate that reflects the changes requested in your filing.
  • An office action. If your section 8, section 71 or section 15 declaration and/or section 9 renewal or section 7 request isn't acceptable, the USPTO will send an office action stating the reasons for refusal and any remedies available. You also will receive an office action if your section 8 or section 71 submission is selected for review under the Post-Registration Audit Program. Respond using the Post Registration Response to Office Action form. If you don't respond to an office action issued for a section 8 or section 71 declaration or a section 9 renewal application, your registration will be canceled and/or expire. If you don’t respond to an office action issued for a section 7 request or for a separately filed section 15 declaration, the filing itself will be abandoned.

Check the status of your registration after filing your documents to confirm that we've received them, and then check again a couple of months later. Use the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) to view all documents in the registration record. Enter your U.S. registration number and click on “Status.” If we've issued a notice or office action, you can view it in TSDR to see if further action on your part is required.

Timelines

View the post-registration timeline or the Madrid Protocol post-registration timeline for an overview of the process.

Look out for misleading notices from private companies

We are aware that applicants and registrants may receive unsolicited third-party mailings from private companies not associated with the USPTO around the time your maintenance filings are due.  While some of these may be from legitimate companies, many are fraudulent and should be avoided.  All official USPTO email correspondence is only from the domain "@uspto.gov."  If you do receive a suspicious communication, you can check our list of known scammers here where you will also find guidance on what to do.

Questions

Contact the Trademark Assistance Center for general questions about maintaining a U.S. trademark registration. For specific questions about a post-registration office action, contact the assigned examiner identified in the office action.