Owning a trade mark or design registration is very much akin to owning real estate. They are assets which need to be properly maintained in order to retain their value and integrity. In the case of a trade mark registration, the primary duty of its owner is to ensure that the trade mark is used on or in relation to the goods or services for which it is registered in the territory where protection has been secured. Failure to use your trade mark registration during its first five years or within a continuous five year period thereafter could leave it open to being challenged on the grounds of non-use by a third party. You also must ensure that your trade mark is used properly and certainly must never be used in a way which would deceive consumers. You also must make sure your trade mark does not become generic for the goods upon which it is registered, e.g. CELLOPHANE for plastic cling film. Niall provides on-going consultancy to his clients whereby it reviews all business and marketing material to ensure that you are using your trade mark properly and in a way that won’t make it vulnerable to challenge by third parties.
In the European Union, a trade mark registration lasts for an initial period of ten years but can be renewed indefinitely provided you pay a renewal fee every ten years.
For registered designs, the requirements of maintaining registration are less strict than trade marks. However, to maintain a valid design, you must make sure that, at the time you apply to register, the design was new (novelty) and had individual character. If a competitor believes that your design did not satisfy the requirements of novelty and individual character, they could apply to have your design registration taken off the register