A trademark is important when you want to protect your business from infringement. Therefore, you should know how long your trademark lasts and when you need to renew it. Under certain circumstances, your trademark may even lapse before the renewal date. If you or a family member is concerned about having a trademark expire, you should speak with an experienced Fayetteville intellectual property lawyer. The legal team at Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, is dedicated to helping you protect your business from those who seek to take advantage of your trademark. Our lawyers have extensive experience dealing with various aspects of trademark law from enforcement to litigation. Gunn Kieklak Dennis, LLP, is here to explain how long a trademark lasts in Arkansas.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark can be a word, name, symbol, or any combination of these things that is used to identify a product or line of products. A trademark is designed to alert the public that a certain brand of goods is manufactured by a certain person or business. A trademark also helps consumers differentiate between similar products. For example, a line of cars manufactured by Ford will obviously have a Ford logo instead of an Audi symbol.

Another valuable use for trademarks is ensuring that your mark cannot be used without authorization. For example, if someone uses your mark to sell their own line of products, a registered trademark will allow you to sue that person and prevent them from trying to benefit by using your mark.

A service mark is another form of a trademark that is used to identify services that you are offering. Like trademarks, service marks can be a word, name, symbol, or a mixture of all three. A service mark can even include a sound. An example of a service mark is Starbucks’ mermaid symbol.

How to Register a Trademark in Arkansas

To register a trademark in Arkansas, you must file an application with the Secretary of State’s Business & Commercial Services Division. Any entity or individual can apply for a trademark; this includes corporations, partnerships, and any other legal entity. However, before you apply for a trademark, you should complete a trademark search.

A trademark search is used to search for other trademarks that may be similar to your trademark. Even a portion of your trademark that is like another person’s trademark could create a potential conflict. A thorough trademark search should be conducted before you apply for a trademark to avoid registering a trademark that is already in use. Not only will this save you time and money, but it will ensure the public does not confuse your product or services with another person’s product or services.

Applications for trademarks are handled in the order that they are received. An applicant may not receive a response from the Secretary’s office for several weeks to ensure that any potential conflicts have been examined. If you wish to know more about registering a trademark, you should speak with an experienced commercial litigation lawyer.

How to Renew Your Trademark

Once your trademark has been registered, it will be effective for five years from the date of registration. The trademark applicant can file for renewal once their trademark is six months from its expiration date. When renewing your trademark, you should use the same information that you used for your original trademark application. Trademarks that are not renewed before the expiration date will expire, and they will not be eligible for renewal.

Trademarks can be renewed every five years. However, your trademark cannot be renewed if it is not in continual use; abandoned trademarks are not eligible for renewal. Additionally, if you wish to alter your trademark, you must file an application for a new mark. Trademarks that are registered with the Secretary of State’s office cannot be changed.

You can also assign ownership of your trademark to another person or entity. An assignment of a trademark can be accomplished by filing an assignment form with the Secretary of State. Once you assign ownership of a trademark, you relinquish your all your rights to that trademark. If you sell your business along with your trademark, you must still notify the Secretary’s office.

If a trademark is not registered, other companies or producers may be able to use that mark on their products. If the trademark is properly registered, you may have legal options to protect your product or services by filing a lawsuit. However, an unregistered mark does not have these same protections for infringement.

Our Fayetteville Commercial Litigation Attorneys Can Help You Renew Your Trademark

If you or a family member needs help renewing a trademark, you should contact an experienced Fayetteville civil litigation attorney. The diligent attorneys Gunn Kieklak Dennis know how important it is to preserve the goodwill of your trademark. Our legal team will provide you with the aggressive legal representation necessary to ensure you and your business is not infringed upon. To schedule a confidential consultation regarding your trademark, call us at (479) 439-9840 or reach us online.