Once you register a trademark, it is valid for ten years. That might not sound like a lot of time, however, trademarks can be renewed indefinitely. By requiring a renewal, legal authorities can ensure that people aren’t registering trademarks and then simply forgetting about them. While the trademark renewal process might seem like a bit of a hassle, it’s actually very important.
Trademarks are a somewhat modern creation. So too are most other forms of intellectual property. As humanity has advanced, knowledge has become more and more important. Right now, we arguably live in a post-industrial age and are part of a so-called knowledge economy. Within the knowledge economy, trademarks have become essential for businesses and organizations. This also means that trademark renewals are also very important, as is allowing trademarks to expire.
A Brief History of Trademarks & Renewals
The oldest trademarks date all the way back to the 19th century. In fact, the oldest trademark still in use is the Bass Brewery company’s three triangle logo. In the United States, the oldest is the logo for the J.P. Tolman Company, a rope company. These trademarks are still in use, having been renewed numerous times.
One of the more interesting historical trademarks was the trademarking of the character Tarzan and specifically his name. Stories and literature can be protected via copyrights, but those eventually expire. By trademarking a character, however, the owners of Tarzan are able to use trademark renewals to continue to protect their assets. Thus, trademark renewals provide additional protection that other forms of intellectual property protections simply cannot.
In many ways then a trademark could actually be the best form of intellectual property protection. Trademark renewals mean that trademarks are indefinite. You don’t have to worry about them expiring. Trademarks can also be used to protect a huge range of things. Logos, words, names, jingles, graphics, there are many different things that can be protected via a trademark.
Further, while patent processes and other laws can vary substantially from country to country, trademarks are a bit more uniform. You do have to register them internationally or in individual countries, however. Still, a trademark in the United States offers very similar levels of protection compared to a trademark in the United Kingdom.
Trademark renewals are relatively straightforward and easy to manage. This is especially true when you consider how complex intellectual property law can be. Compared to a patient, trademarks are a bit easier to work with and comprehend. Still, expert trademark assistance can be very valuable for both the initial registration and also trademark renewals.
So if you have intellectual property that is in need of protection, make sure you consider trademarks. Given the fact that trademarks can be renewed, they arguably offer the best protection available for your intellectual assets.