Once you register a trademark with the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office, you have to use the trademark to keep
it. Merely registering it with the federal government does
not protect the mark. It must be used in commerce. If you
fail to use the mark or later go out of business, the mark
may be considered abandoned.
Intent to Use
If a trademark hasn't been in use at the time of
registration, you must file an "intent to use"
statement, and show its use within a specific period of
time. If you cannot prove use, the trademark will be
Several factors will most likely constitute abandonment:
- If the trademark was already properly registered
- Subsequent discontinued use of the trademark
- The intent not to further use the mark
However, if the non-use is the result of economic
circumstances, and the owner nevertheless intends to use
the mark, an abandonment has not occurred, and the non-use
Anywhere in U.S.
Abandonment does not occur simply because of discontinued
use in a particular geographic area of the United States,
while maintaining use in other geographical areas. A
federal trademark technically has nationwide application,
and so as long as it is being used somewhere in interstate
commerce, a trademark most likely will not be considered
The consequences of an abandoned trademark are twofold:
- The mark becomes available for use by the first
person or business to properly register it and use it
- Any business already using the mark may be permitted
to use the mark
However, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will
likely require proof of abandonment by the prior user, and
give him/her a chance to show that the mark had not been
To prevent abandonment of trademarks, the owner must
follow all requirements of the federal trademark laws.
Otherwise, the trademark may be considered abandoned,
which can be fatal to a business.