Q: How long is a registered trademark good for?
There are really two answers to this question (if we limit the discussion ONLY to federally registered marks, not ones registered with any state agency). First, there is the term of the trademark rights themselves, and then there is the term of the registration. The two are different. The rights to any particular trademark arise from the date of first use of the mark in commerce, and continue for as long as the holder continues to use the mark in commerce without abandoning it, or until such time as the mark is successfully challenged in court or through the trademark office.
A federal registration, on the other hand, can also last as long as the holder continues to use the mark in interstate commerce, but the user has certain maintenance requirements to maintain the mark. First, the user has to file a declaration between the 5th and 6th years after issuance, and then the user has to file another declaration, plus a renewal, between the 9th and 10th years, and again during every 9th and 10th year period thereafter.
There are other optional filings, there are possible grace periods, and these don't apply to marks filed under the Madrid Protocol, but those are issues for a more detailed discussion.
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