After registering your trademark, your rights can last forever provided it's consistently used properly. That's evidenced by the fact that the oldest registered trademark in the U.S. was registered back in 1884 and is still going strong. However, improper use or neglecting your trademark will eventually result in losing your rights in the mark. Here are a few tips that could help your trademark rights last.
Use with a descriptor
Using your trademark by itself can lead to confusion. In the case of Dry Ice, what began as a trademark for a specific company has turned into the generic term for the product. On your packaging or advertising materials, it's typically advisable to use your trademark as an adjective rather than a noun. A good test is to remove your mark from any copy and see if it still makes sense and forms a complete sentence. If it does, that's often a better use for your mark.
Use trademark notice
You've noticed trademark notice before, even if you don't know it by that name. It refers to the encircled 'R', and superscript 'TM' that appears next to trademarked names and symbols. It's important to not only use trademark notice each time your mark is used, but to use the correct form. This illustrates that you're using your mark as a source-indicating brand. Use the R to denote registered trademarks, and the TM after marks that haven't yet been registered. Ideally, trademark notice would appear after your mark everytime it's used, but that doesn't always work in real practice. It may look odd, for example, to see trademark notice after multiple uses of your mark in a single paragraph. In many cases, using it once per page is sufficient, but it's wise to seek legal advice to be sure you're using trademark notice correctly.
Make your trademark stand out
Including trademark notice after your mark calls some extra attention to it, but don't stop there. Whenever your mark appears in text, make it stand out by putting it in all caps, making it bold or italicized, underlined, or even a different color. This is a smart advertising tactic that reminds customers of your brand specifically when they see your packaging, not just your product. It can also make it easier to show that your mark has consistently been used for brand significance and your rights are still needed. That could be important when it's time to renew your mark's registration.
Keep form consistent
When you register your mark, you are registering it in the exact form it currently appears in. That means it's spelled precisely each time it's used, it isn't possessive or plural if it didn't start that way, and hasn't otherwise been modified. This is extremely important when renewing your trademark. It's hard to argue, for example, that your mark has been in continuous use if you're often using it in a slightly altered form.
These tips are provided solely for informational purposes and may not be applicable to your trademarks or business. For counsel regarding your specific trademarks and usage, contact us at Brown Patent Law: 918-615-3357.