An Atlanta intellectual property attorney at KPPB LAW recently published a blog post answering the question, "What is a dead trademark?" While it is possible to acquire a dead trademark, there are several risks involved in this process.
Dead trademarks are trademarks that were previously registered with the Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) but are no longer recognized by that office. The original business can no longer use that trademark, and it is available for other companies. These trademarks are easily identified through the use of online databases, such as the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System. Before acquiring a dead trademark, a business must ensure that the original holder does not intend to resume the use of the trademark. Companies that acquire dead trademarks still popularly associated with a particular product risk causing confusion and damaging their sales. Failure to properly research whether a trademark is truly dead with no current or planned future use could lead to costly court proceedings. It is therefore important to conduct thorough research into your planned trademark to ensure that you are not unintentionally infringing upon a mark that can still be legally used by another entity.
There are several reasons that trademarks are not maintained. In some cases, the registration is simply allowed to lapse without renewal. This can sometimes signal abandonment, in which the original holder does not intend to renew the trademark, or it can happen as the result of faulty planning. Similarly, the petitioning party may have failed to respond to a request from the USPTO to finalize the trademark. Poor licensing and recordkeeping could also cause the lapse of a trademark. Finally, a trademark may be lost due to genericity. When a product is referred to by the trademark, rather than by its actual name -- such as in the case of escalators, which were originally called moving stairways -- it may be ruled that the trademark is no longer valid.
Speak to the intellectual property attorneys at KPPB LAW for more information about dead trademarks. The firm's attorneys have significant experience in helping businesses acquire, maintain, and regain trademarks. To speak with an attorney at KPPB LAW, contact the firm at 678-443-2244. KPPB LAW is headquartered at One Lakeside Commons, Suite 800, 990 Hammond Drive, Atlanta, GA 30328.