How To Renew Trademark and Avoid Paying Penalties

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As the owner of a mark, it is essential to consider how to renew trademark to keep your branding alive.

Fortunately, maintaining your existing trademark is significantly easier than most business owners realize.

As long as you ensure you have the correct documentation available, you can reapply to renew your trademark as needed.

How To Renew Trademark: Getting Started

Before you get started with the renewal process, it’s essential to answer a few critical questions.

You will need to know the renewal costs and when you are supposed to begin the process.

Let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about renewing your trademark.

Can Trademark Registrations Be Renewed?

One of the most important things for business owners to do once they are the owner of a mark is to ensure their registration is renewed.

Without documentation, you will lose your trademark, which removes its “Live” status and leaves it open for anyone else to use.

Considering the importance of your trademark, the last thing you want is to lose a significant part of your branding.

Luckily, the USPTO makes the renewal process relatively straightforward, even without the help of a lawyer.

However, if you have little information and experience filing trademarks, seeking professional assistance can be beneficial.

Also, lawyers can assist you with streamlining your payments to ensure you don’t miss any essential filing fees.

Are There Exceptions to Trademark Renewal?

Let’s say you are in a situation where you can’t use your trademark, but it’s up for renewal.

Considering you need to prove your mark is being used to conduct commerce, this could lead to application rejection.

Fortunately, there are explicit situations where companies could acquire an exception, though they are rare.

Excusable Nonuse

Exceptions to trademark renewal are known as excusable nonuse.

You will be required to file this document and prove exceptional circumstances outside of your control have forced you to stop using your mark.

In these instances, you will prove to the USPTO that you are not abandoning the mark but cannot use it.

COVID-19 Excusable Nonuse

A second option for an exception to trademark renewal is COVID-19.

Businesses that have been directly impacted by the pandemic can be temporarily excused from renewal.

However, you will also need to submit a form proving the pandemic has prevented you from using the mark for commerce.

How Much Does It Cost to Renew a Trademark?

There are two basic steps to renewing a trademark, as we explore in further detail below.

One of these steps contains an important document required for renewal known as a Declaration of Use.

This form shows that you intend to continue using your trademark for a certain number of years.

As a mark holder, you can choose between a few different timelines depending on how long you want your trademark.

The Declaration of Use that you choose will affect the cost of applying for trademark renewal.

The most four available options include:

  • Five-Year Declaration of Use – $225/class
  • Five-Year Declaration of Use with Declaration of Incontestability – $425/class
  • 10-Year Declaration of Use – $525/class
  • Declaration of Incontestability – $200/class
how to renew trademark

Extra Fees

There are a couple of extra fees that business owners should consider when asking how much does it cost to renew a trademark.

These fees typically apply to specific situations, such as removing goods and services before your maintenance is accepted.

Let’s review the most common fees you could experience while filing for renewal:

Class Deletions

Most commonly, business owners could experience an extra fee if they begin deleting items per class.

For example, if you remove certain services and goods before your maintenance documents are approved.

It is important to note that these fees only apply if you have not filed a Section 7 Request to note the deletions you require.

The central premise behind deletion fees is to ensure companies keep all of their business information up to date.

If you were to change your goods and services without notifying the USPTO, you’re violating the legal requirements of owning a trademark.

Companies that don’t pay their class deletion fees are subject to have their trademark revoked.

Grace Period Filing

Every trademark owner should know that filing at the beginning of the year is required for mark maintenance.

With that said, there is also a grace period of six months attached to all filing deadlines.

However, if you file within the grace period, you could be subject to additional fees.

These fees apply to both five and 10-year declarations.

If you do not pay the fees within the specified time frame, you’re at risk of having your renewal application rejected.

What Happens When a Trademark Expires?

A common question that comes up when businesses start the trademark registration renewal process is, what happens when it expires?

Unlike copyrights and patents, trademarks won’t expire after some time.

Instead, businesses simply have to show that they have continued using the trademark for commerce to remain active.

As mentioned, documentation is required to ensure you don’t lose your trademark.

You will be required to submit a Section 8, which is a document proving the mark is still in use by your company.

Within this form, you’ll find a sworn statement that the business owner must sign to say that trademark is used.

Depending on how long you’re registered for, you need to submit your Section 8 form at a specific time.

For example, five-year registrations require the sworn statement to be submitted after the fifth registration anniversary but before the sixth.

In comparison, 10-year registrations require the statement to be submitted after the 10th anniversary but before the 11th.

If you were to let your trademark expire, you could expect the following to occur:

Trademark Abandonment

Businesses that don’t submit their forms before or within the grace period will be allowing their trademark to expire.

In this instance, your mark will be considered abandoned, which means you lose the right to use it to provide goods and services.

Unfortunately, this also opens the door for other companies to grab the trademark and use it for their own practices.

Application Refusal

Letting your trademark expire and losing it means you will have to reapply from the beginning if you want it back.

You’ll have to go through the whole application process a second time, so there’s no guarantee your application will be accepted.

If it was challenging getting your mark in the first place, reapplying can be quite the task.


Above all else, one of the most significant struggles of letting your trademark expire is the fees you’re subjected to pay.

Instead of dealing with late renewal fees, you’ll have to pay the initial application fees for a second time.

This extra chunk of money can be considerably expensive for small businesses, especially if they are on a tight budget.

If you hired a lawyer during your initial application, you’d have to consider those fees on top of the USPTO fees.

It can be a hefty investment to pay for a trademark, let it expire, and then reapply for the same mark in the future.

How Do I Renew My Trademark?

With a better idea of what’s required for a USPTO trademark renewal, let’s consider how you can renew your mark.

Step 1: File a Maintenance Document

The first thing required by businesses interested in trademark registration renewal is a maintenance document.

Within this, you’ll provide a signed declaration that proves you’ll be using the mark with your goods and services.

You’ll also be required to submit an example for each class of goods and services you’re applying for.

Step 2: Pay the Fees

Before your application for renewing a trademark can be accepted or denied, you’ll have to pay any filing fees.

As earlier discussed, different fees will depend on the maintenance document you select.

Always ensure you pay the fees on time, especially if you want to avoid late filing penalties.

Step 3: The Review Process

After learning how much does it cost to renew a trademark, it’s time to wait for the review process.

Once you’ve submitted your maintenance document and any further documentation, the USPTO reviews the registration.

Sometimes, businesses could also be subjected to a registration audit, requiring further evidence of mark use.

When faced with an audit, a USPTO advisor will contact you in writing explaining what different forms are needed.

If you cannot provide a reasonable amount of proof of use for your mark, your application could be denied.

Also, if you cannot provide proof of use when audited, you will likely be charged a fee for class deletions.

After completing the review process, you will be notified of your trademark acceptance or denial in writing.

The average timeline for receiving an answer from your review can vary depending on the length of your application.

Step 4: Using the Trademark

The final step to obtaining a USPTO trademark renewal is to use your mark if you’ve been approved.

If not, you could always register a different trademark under another class.

Application rejections can happen for several reasons, which is why it’s essential that you complete trademark research beforehand.

How To Renew Trademark

When you’re learning how to renew trademark, there are a few documents to take into consideration.

Before applying, it’s also important to ask how much does it cost to renew a trademark to get your finances prepared.

By ensuring you file within a reasonable timeframe and pay all of the required fees, you will avoid any penalties.

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