[#15] I Thought…

I thought… “Is there a time limit on a Trademark? Will I be able to use a trademark after 10 years?

Trademarks have an infinite lifetime.

Registered trademarks, on the other hand, are renewable every ten years on a limitless basis. This means the owner of a trademark can own that trademark for generations to come as long as the mark is renewed before its expiry date every ten years.

In 2002, the International Trademark Association (INTA) conducted an analysis on the world’s oldest registered trademarks and the results of the survey revealed the following:

  • The first Australian trademark to be registered was in 1905, where a pine tree logo, still in use by Fisons plc for chemicals, was registered.
  • In 1874, the trademark NESTLE’S EAGLE BRAND, became the first registered mark in Hong Kong, used on condensed milk. The mark is still in use today.
  • In Japan, the design of a seated figure for pills and wound dressings was registered in 1884.
  • The famous Bass red triangle logo for beer gets the recognition in the UK as the first registered mark, registered in 1875.
  • Whereas, in the US, an eagle logo used for paints by Averill Paints (which is no longer in use) was the first registration, registered in 1870.
  • In Malaysia, the trademark New Tide was the first trademark filed in Malaysia, registered in 1983.

However, although protection can be for an infinite period, like almost everything in business, the marks used at the start of the business will evolve over time. Marks need to be revamped and freshened up to be relevant to the next generation of consumers. Many well-known marks have evolved in the past years to be the trademarks they are today. Observe how the trademarks Pepsi and Shell have evolved where changes are significant, fresh trademark application should be filed.

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