A registered trademark is an important component of your business identity. Application for registration of a trademark is a process that usually takes several months to complete, and usually requires having to collaborate with an attorney as well as the US Patents and Trademarks Office. Once the trademark is registered, however, this does not mean that it will be legally yours for eternity. It is usually required to have the trademark renewed on a regular basis.
In order to do this, the owner of the trademark is usually required to file maintenance documents at specific intervals, usually described by the US Patents and Trademarks Office. Failure to do this means that after some time, the trademark registration will expire, and this invalidation means that it will not be eligible for protection. Another company or individual can register the same trademark and use it for their own purposes, and the initial owner will not have any legal recourse.
Several forms need to be filled during the renewal process. If the registration is not based on the Madrid Protocol, the maintenance is usually done by filing a Declaration of Use and/or Excusable Nonuse. This is usually done between the 5th and the 6th year of the registration date. A six-month grace period is usually offered after this time elapses, during which one can still file for the maintenance, but will have to pay an extra fee.
During the renewal, an owner can also file for an optional Declaration of Incontestability which enhances their rights over the trademark. The trademark has to satisfy the requirements of the Trademark Act in order to be eligible for this.