Incontestable Trademarks under Section 15
Securing the principal registration of a trademark is a significant accomplishment for any company. Once a trademark has been registered and in continuous use for 5 years, the owner can file a Section 15 Trademark Declaration. A Section 15 is also known as a “Declaration of Incontestability,” as it provides even greater protection to trademarks registered on the principal register.
The Rights & Requirements of Section 15
Under Section 15 of the Lanham Act, United States Code, Section 1065, a trademark owner may apply for a Declaration of Incontestability. This element of incontestability strengthen the trademark and limits attacks regarding its owner and uniqueness. A serious challenge can only be made against an incontestable trademark in limited situations such as if the trademark has been abandoned, it has been used in an effort to violate United States laws, is found to be fraudulent in some manner, or has become a generic term for a certain type of goods or services.
In order to properly secure a Section 15 Declaration, the owner of the trademark must supply the following evidence in a written statement to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), preferably at the 5th anniversary of the original principal registration:
- Proof that the trademark was used continuously for the past 5 years
- No final decisions have been established on the ownership of the trademark
- There are no current proceedings concerning the validity of the trademark
In addition to the aforementioned, applicants must supply the following items in a timely fashion, in order to complete the filing process:
- The fee for each registration as pertains to individual goods and services
- A signature from either the owner of the trademark or person with personal knowledge of the facts
While it is not a necessary procedure in order to maintain a trademark’s registration, a “Declaration of Incontestability” under Section 15 offers owners a bit more security when it comes to protecting a trademark.
If you are considering applying for a Section 15 Declaration, contact Mandour & Associates, APC for any assistance that you may require.