As the USPTO implements the Trademark Modernization Act (TMA), it has issued new guidance on how to improve the accuracy of the Register so that it reflects marks in use and does not contain registrations that should not be maintained or should not have been granted in the first place, for example, due to fake specimens, other fraud, or error.
As part of this effort, the USPTO has been randomly auditing trademark owner registration maintenance filings since 2017 to ensure registered trademarks are in use for their corresponding registered goods and/or services thus making it extremely important for trademark owners to use their trademarks in relation to their registered goods and/or services. If the USPTO audits registration maintenance filings, the trademark owner will be required to prove use of the registered trademark for additional goods and/or services in the registration not currently shown as in use from the maintenance filing. If the trademark owner does not respond to the audit, the trademark registration may be canceled or if the trademark owner responds but does not provide proof of use for those goods or services, those additional goods or services will be required to be deleted from the registration.
Please see the below USPTO links for additional information regarding the USPTO trademark post registration audit program in addition to requirements for maintaining your trademark registration:
In addition, the USPTO has issued guidance on excusable nonuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, if COVID-19 has directly impacted you or your business and temporarily prevented you from using your trademark, you may request to be temporarily excused from using your trademark.
- An explanation of how COVID-19 has affected you or your business and caused you to temporarily stop using your trademark with the products and services covered by your registration
- The date your trademark was last used
- The steps you’re taking to resume use, and
- The approximate date when you expect to resume using your trademark.
The guidance and forms may be found via this USPTO link: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/maintain#Excusable-nonuse-during-COVID-19
We are able to assist with any USPTO trademark post-registration issues as needed.