My Trade Mark Has Expired: What Happens Next?
Protecting your business’ intellectual property (IP) and brand is important. You should not underestimate the importance of your brand, and it is essential that you adequately protect it. Registering a trade mark is a great way to protect your IP, giving you exclusive rights to use and commercialise your trade mark. Registering your trade mark is only the first step in the life-cycle of your IP. Likewise, maintaining your trade mark is a long term process. It is important that you maintain your trade mark and renew it, or risk having an expired trade mark. This article will take you through how trade marks expire and what you can do if your trade mark has expired.
When Do Trade Marks Expire?
Trade marks in Australia last for 10 years. Every 10 years, you will be required to renew your trade mark and pay the applicable renewal fees. You can begin to pay your trade mark renewal fees 12 months before the renewal date. You can avoid missing your trade mark renewal dates by keeping your contact details up to date with IP Australia. They will send you reminders to renew your trade marks. When you have requested your trade mark renewal, the Registrar will notify you that they have renewed your trade mark. Likewise, they will provide you with information about your new renewal period.
If you do not pay your renewal fees on time, your trade mark will expire.
What Can I Do If My Trade Mark Expires?
Before Six Months Pass
If your trade mark expires but you wish to keep it, there is a six month period after expiry to restore your rights to your trade mark. You will be required to pay the renewal fees as well as an extension fee for the delay. During these six months, your trade mark will remain on the register. However, you will not be able to benefit from any of your trade mark registration rights.
After Six Months Pass
If your trade mark expires and six months pass, IP Australia will remove your trade mark from the trade mark register. Consequently, you will not be able to restore your trade mark rights. If you want to gain access to your trade mark again, you will have to re-apply for your trade mark. To do this, you must start an entirely new application.
Once IP Australia removes your trade mark from the register, you cannot use it as grounds for a trade mark objection. For example, a competitor business may register a trade mark similar to yours. However, your trade mark has expired and is no longer on the register. Consequently, it will be difficult to object to their application.
To maintain your trade mark, you should keep track of your renewal dates. Doing so will avoid your trade mark from expiring. If your trade mark does expire, you cannot benefit from any of your trade mark registration rights. Also, you will only have six months to restore your trade mark rights before your trade mark is removed from the trade mark register. Therefore, it is essential that you stay on top of the renewal process.
The trade mark renewal process can be tricky, so if you have any questions about trade mark renewal, our experienced trade mark lawyers can help you navigate this process. Get in touch with them on 1300 657 423 or by filling out the form on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Trade mark registration is the process of protecting your trade mark formally and having it listed on the trade mark register. It gives you enforcement rights over your trade mark, which will allow you to take legal action against anyone who uses your trade mark without your permission.
Trade mark registration is only the beginning of the life-cycle of your trade mark. After registering your trade mark, you should implement IP management systems to monitor your trade mark and prepare for trade mark renewal. If you fail to renew your trade mark, it will expire, and you risk having it removed from the trade mark register.
IP management refers to the systems you put in place to protect and monitor your business’ IP. Everything that comes after your register your trade mark is part of your IP management. This includes keeping up with the date you need to renew your trade mark.
If your trade mark expires, you have six months to pay the renewal fees to restore your trade mark. If six months pass and you have still not renewed your trade mark, IP Australia will remove your trade mark from the trade mark register, and you will lose all rights to your trade mark. If you wish to obtain your trade mark rights again after this, you will have to start the application process again.