What Is The USPTO’s Post Registration Audit Program?
A trademark is one of the most important forms of intellectual property in the United States. It allows businesses and entrepreneurs to establish and develop their brands. A trademark should be registered to receive the maximum level of legal protection. For a trademark petition to be approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), certain requirements must be satisfied.
As explained by the USPTO, a Post Registration Audit Program was created in 2017 to ensure “the accuracy and integrity of the trademark register.” In this article, our Florida trademark registration attorney explains what you should understand about the USPTO’s program for post registration audits.
The USPTO Conducts Random Trademark Audits
In accordance with federal regulations, the USPTO randomly audits trademark registrations to help ensure that all service marks recorded within the official register are currently in commercial use as required by the law. If your trademark maintenance filing is audited by USPTO, you have a duty to cooperate. Otherwise, you could lose your trademark protection.
What Happens If You Fail to Respond to a Random Trademark Audit?
If the USPTO randomly audits your trademark maintenance filing and you fail to provide the required information or fail to respond at all, the federal agency can take action. Among other things, the USPTO may cancel your trademark registration. It is imperative that you and/or your business take the proper action if you receive notice of a trademark audit. If you have any questions about what to do, reach out to an experienced Florida trademark law attorney for help.
Trademark Audit: How to Provide Proof of Ongoing Commercial Use
As noted previously, the primary purpose of the U.S. Post Registration Audit Program is to confirm that all registered marks remain in commercial use. In order to comply with a random trademark audit from the USPTO, you must show “proof of use.” As defined by the agency, proof of use is considered some form of evidence that clearly demonstrates that there is continued use of the trademark in commerce. How exactly this is done depends on whether you are confirming commercial use of a trademark in relation to a good/product or a service.
With goods, some notable examples of evidence that the USPTO accepts as validation of proof in use includes photographs of the mark on a label or the product itself, screenshots of web pages or social media content with relevant information, and photographs of a trademark on the packaging of a product. For services the USPTO is generally looking for other types of evidence. Examples Include: brochures that have been distributed to potential customers, retail/restaurant signage, and other forms of advertising.
Schedule a Confidential Case Evaluation with a Florida Trademark Lawyer
At Perkins Law, our Boca Raton trademark attorney is standing by, ready to help you resolve any outstanding issues. If you want more information about the USPTO’s post registration audit program, we can help. Contact our law firm today to arrange your strictly confidential case evaluation. Our firm provides intellectual property representation throughout South Florida.