Many intellectual property owners have concerns regarding the maintenance and renewal of copyrights, trademarks and patents. Each one of these items has its own set of rules with regard to the ability to maintain or renew them, and the process can become quite complex for people who are not familiar with it.
A Brief Overview Of Intellectual Property Maintenance And Renewal
According to information from the United States Copyright Office, the length of a copyright is predetermined for works created on or after January 1, 1978, and there is no renewal option available. In general terms, protection continues for 70 years after the death of the person who created the work. If a work was anonymous, written under a pseudonym or was a work for hire, protection remains in effect for the longer of 95 years following its initial publication or 120 years following its creation.
The length of time a copyright will remain in effect can vary greatly for a work published before 1978, and optional renewal is available after 28 years. If your work was published prior to 1978, we will determine how long its protection will last and advise you regarding the legal benefits that could be derived from renewing the copyright.
Trademarks can remain in effect indefinitely provided that the owner files all of the required maintenance documents following the initial registration. According to information from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), owners are required to file a “Declaration of Use under Section 8” between years five and six. A combined “Declaration of Use and Application for Renewal under Sections 8 and 9” must be filed between years nine and 10 and once every 10 years going forward.
Failure to meet these filing requirements will result in the cancellation of your trademark. We work closely with our clients to ensure that all of the requirements are met and that their declarations are filed in a timely manner.
Patents are not renewable. For utility and plant patents that were approved on or after June 8, 1995, patent protection typically continues for 20 years from the date the patent was filed. The term for design patents is 14 years from the date of approval. Patents remain in effect for their respective terms as long as the required maintenance fees are paid in a timely manner.
While the original patent enters the public domain when its term expires, it may be possible to obtain a new patent on an improved version of the original invention.
Speak With An Attorney About Your IP Maintenance Or Renewal Needs
Contact one of our Texas offices to discuss your copyright, trademark and patent maintenance and renewal needs with a lawyer. You can reach us by phone at 817-704-3984 or via email to schedule an appointment.