In the bustling city of Los Angeles, where innovation and entrepreneurship are at their zenith, the protection of one’s brand becomes paramount but a question is often raised as to how long do trademarks last in Los Angeles, and more broadly in the United States. As businesses embark on the journey of brand protection and trademark registration, a question often emerges: How long does a trademark last? This blog summarizes the term of trademark rights, how long does trademark protection last, and provides examples of some of the oldest trademarks in the United States.
Two Layers of Trademark Protection
In the vast legal landscape of the United States, trademark rights are protected under two distinct legal umbrellas:
- Federal trademark law, colloquially known as the Trademark Act or the Lanham Act.
- The age-old common law.
Each layer of protection offers a unique term, with some areas of intersection.
The Finite Nature of Federal Trademark Rights: 5 or 10 Years
According to the edicts of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the federal trademark law, trademarks registered under the USPTO have a lifespan of 5 years. However, this is not the end. A beacon of hope exists in the form of a trademark renewal, which, if filed validly, extends this term.
In the hallowed corridors of the USPTO, trademark renewals have a tenure of 10 years. After this time, the duty falls upon the trademark owner to file another renewal, ensuring the registration remains intact. While this cycle of renewals might seem laborious, it comes with a silver lining. There exists no cap on the number of renewals one can file. In essence, a trademark, with timely renewals filed in the USPTO, can achieve immortality.
The Timelessness of Common Law Trademark Rights
The annals of common law hold a different tale. Under its protective wing, trademarks are eternal, contingent only on the trademark owner’s adherence to the test for trademark use. In layman’s terms, as long as the trademark is used in the marketplace, it remains unassailable.
A Glimpse into the Past: Age-old Trademarks in the United States
The testament to the enduring nature of trademarks lies in the brands that have withstood the test of time. Here are some venerable examples:
- COLGATE® for toothpaste (protected since 1806)
- JIM BEAM® for whisky (protected since 1795)
- JPMORGAN CHASE® for financial services (protected since 1799)
- TABASCO® for hot sauce (protected since 1869)
- GUINNESS® for beer (protected since 1876)
- COCA-COLA® for carbonated beverages (protected since 1893)
The Everlasting Nature of Trademarks: A Beacon for Entrepreneurs
For the visionaries and pioneers in technology startups, the knowledge that their trademark, be it a logo, brand name, or slogan, can transcend time is heartening. Unlike the ephemeral nature of copyright rights or patent rights, trademarks stand tall, their protection unwavering across the globe.
For those seeking guidance in the labyrinth of trademark registration and protection in Los Angeles, the expertise of David Nima Sharifi of L.A. Tech and Media Law Firm awaits. Embark on your trademark journey with a seasoned navigator with over 15 years experience in trademark law and startup legal and business affairs by your side.