Have you registered your trademark? Use it or lose it

So, you’ve registered your trademark, but that doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. On the contrary, the real work starts now! You have 5 years to actually use your trademark. If you don’t use your trademark, you run the risk of losing it – and that would be a pity.

  • Registering your trademark gives you the exclusive right to use it. You have a monopoly. 
  • After registration, you must use your trademark within 5 years for all the products and services it is registered for. 
  • If you don't do that, you run the risk of your trademark being cancelled. 

Once you have successfully registered your trademark, you can have a monopoly on it forever, in principle. You just have to make sure you actually use it within 5 years. Otherwise, you would be able to keep your trademark covering a wide range of products and services off the market indefinitely, which would be unfair with respect to your fellow entrepreneurs.

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What happens when you don’t use your trademark? 

If you don't use your trademark within 5 years of registering it, someone else can target your trademark and have it cancelled. Cancellation means that your trademark registration is no longer valid, and that gives your competitors the opportunity to use or register the trademark themselves.  

How to use your trademark properly 

You must use your trademark for the products or services you registered it for. If you registered your trademark for clothing and jewellery, you must use your trademark for both clothing and jewellery. If you only use your trademark for clothing, you run the risk of losing your trademark for jewellery. It means your trademark partially expires. 

Collect proof that you are using your trademark 

From the start of your trademark registration, keep anything that can be used to show you have effectively used your trademark, such as marketing material, invoices, quotations, website screenshots, media messages etc., for example. A clear date must be visible on each item of proof.  

Cancelling a trademark costs money 

Let’s suppose your competitor wants to have your trademark cancelled. If he wins the proceedings, you have to pay him the costs of the cancellation procedure (similar to paying court fees), which amount to €1420. If your competitor loses the proceedings, however, he must pay double that amount, as he then has to pay not only the costs of the cancellation procedure, but also the same amount again to you as compensation. There will also be extra costs, of course, if you are represented by a lawyer or a trademark attorney. 

Don’t allow your rights to expire 
On our 'All about trademarks' page, we have listed all the things you need to think about after your trademark registration. 

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