A trademark registration issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a valuable asset to a trademark owner in view of the substantial statutory benefits, advantages, and remedies it provides. A federal registration provides statutory notice to the public of the trademark it represents and the USPTO maintains a register of all trademark registrations. In its role as gatekeeper, the USPTO strives to ensure the integrity of the register and to clear away any “dead wood” registrations for trademarks that have been abandoned. The USPTO views its gatekeeper role as a benefit to the public in that the removal from the trademark register of registrations for abandoned trademarks (1) reduces the unnecessary blockage of future trademark applications and (2) maintains the integrity of the register to provide notice of existing trademark rights to the public.
Your business may at some point find itself in the unfortunate position of facing an allegation that it is infringing another’s patent. The situation can be even more aggravating if you believe that the subject patent is obvious or not novel and therefore wrongfully issued. You can defend against an allegation of patent infringement by challenging the validity of the patent in a civil suit before a court of law. A patent carries a presumption of validity, which can only be overcome by clear and convincing evidence. That places a high burden on you to invalidate the patent in the lawsuit.
Starting September 1, the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has instituted a pilot program to help you preserve your trademark registration if new technology replaces the format under which the underlying goods or services identified under the registration are offered for sale or provided to consumers.
A patent issued under the U.S. Patent Laws has a finite life, which is 20 years from the date of filing. A strategy to monetize a patent through licensing must take into consideration that finite life span because after the 20 year patent term, the underlying invention falls into the public domain. A patent holder may not continue to receive license royalties after the patent’s expiration, as long ago decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U. S. 29 (1964).