How to Trademark an Abandoned Trademark

By Joe Stone

Trademark rights are acquired when a trademark is used in commerce to identify a business's products or services. These rights will last as long as the trademark is used. When a business ceases using the trademark, the rights associated with the trademark may be considered abandoned. You can acquire the rights to an abandoned trademark by taking steps to investigate the circumstances regarding when the trademark ceased being used and to begin using the trademark in your business. You should register the trademark to acquire additional protection for your right to exclusively use the trademark.

Trademark rights are acquired when a trademark is used in commerce to identify a business's products or services. These rights will last as long as the trademark is used. When a business ceases using the trademark, the rights associated with the trademark may be considered abandoned. You can acquire the rights to an abandoned trademark by taking steps to investigate the circumstances regarding when the trademark ceased being used and to begin using the trademark in your business. You should register the trademark to acquire additional protection for your right to exclusively use the trademark.

Step 1

Determine when and, if possible, why the trademark stopped being used. Federal law considers a trademark abandoned when it is ceased being used with the intention not to use it again. Regardless of intent, federal law also considers three years of disuse to be prima facie evidence of abandonment.

Protect your brand. Register My Trademark Now

Step 2

Check the status of any registration or application to register the trademark using the database of trademark information maintained by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The database includes information on federally registered trademarks or applications for trademarks that are active and abandoned -- typically marked as "dead." A search for the trademark can be performed online using the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System or with assistance from an online legal provider.

Step 3

Check the status of any registration or application to register the trademark using the databases maintained by any state where the trademark may have been used. Each state has its own trademark registration laws and typically requires registration applications to be submitted to the secretary of state or other state agency.

Step 4

Begin using the trademark on your products or services to create trademark rights from using the trademark. Although you are not required to register the trademark to create trademark rights, registering the trademark with the USPTO and with any state where you are doing business will give your trademark rights greater protection against anyone who contests your right to exclusively use the trademark.

Protect your brand. Register My Trademark Now
The Trademark Search Process

References

Resources

Related articles

What Does "Date of First Use" Mean on a Trademark?

The first company to use an trademark secures exclusive ownership rights in the trademark. The "date of first use" refers to the date a trademark owner uses an original mark to identify his goods or services in the marketplace. A trademark includes an original mark, sign, symbol, word or design -- or a combination of words, phrases or designs -- to identify and distinguish a company's goods and services from its competitors. Trademarks help the general public identify their preferred products in the marketplace. The exclusive trademark rights depend on the originality of the mark and the date of first use in commercial trade.

How to Trademark a Name in Michigan

Your trademark name distinguishes the products you offer in the marketplace from your competitors' products. You can establish trademark rights in your brand name in three different ways -- through common law usage, state registration and federal registration. Under common law, you automatically acquire basic trademark rights once you use your unique brand name in association with your goods offered in commercial trade. For state registration in Michigan, you register your trademark through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The registration confirms your claim of ownership over the trademark name within the state. Optional federal trademark registration, through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, offers exclusive rights to use the trademark throughout the United States.

What Are the Four Parts to Obtaining a Trademark?

Your trademark tells your customers that your products come from you. It distinguishes your goods and services from those of others. You can select a word, phrase, symbol, design or any combination of these elements to serve as your trademark. The strongest trademark is a fanciful, made-up word or image that is not confusingly similar to another party's goods. There are four basic steps to obtaining a trademark.

File a Trademark Online. LegalZoom. Learn More.

Related articles

How to Obtain a Trademark

You obtain a trademark by using a logo, word, slogan or design that is associated with a product or service provided by ...

How to Trademark a Title

A trademark or service mark may consist of any design, word or combination of words that identify the maker of a ...

How Trademarks Work

Any unique symbol, logo, word or phrase used to distinguish your business's services or products is a mark. Your ...

Expiration of Trademark Registration & Abandonment

A trademark is a combination of words or symbols that identifies and distinguishes a product or service of an ...

Browse by category