20% of registered trademarks are at risk due to improper use.
Clocktower Law recently reviewed 100% of the registered trademarks in its docket and discovered that 20% of them are at risk due to incorrect use. “At risk” meaning that it will be difficult to renew these registered trademarks, because the website pages used (as specimens) to register them are no longer available.
Sometimes the legal left hand doesn’t know what the marketing right hand is doing. I get it. I’ve worked both as a lawyer and as a marketer. Website redesign, acquisitions, and changes in branding can all impact – positively or negatively – a company’s trademark portfolio.
Legacy trademarks (e.g. for prior brands) are deemed NOT to be at risk, since the decision not to use the trademark was an intentional one. But it’s bad news to unintentionally lose track of (or lose the registrations for) your valuable trademarks!
For most services (and for some products), pages from your website can be used to prove to the USPTO that you are properly using your trademarks as defined in your trademark applications and registrations. One way to keep your registered trademarks alive is to create permanent pages that are specifically designed to serve as trademark specimens. Clocktower Law has done just this for two of its tagline trademarks:
* The Law Firm Where Everybody Knows Your Name
* Lawyers For Human Beings
Maybe someday there will be a third-party service for hosting trademark specimens, like the Wayback machine except a paid service. Until then, encourage your marketing and legal teams to play nicely together!
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