Lots of countries have on-line renewal options, many of which seem very easy to use, some of which indeed are, but after you check out the on-line renewal system and think, “Oh, this looks easy!” consider the following:
- Do you have a local address in that country that will receive and forward your mail in a timely manner?
- Do you still use your trademark in the manner in which it was registered? (USA, for example, requires samples which must be accurate or a deficiency fee can be charged by USPTO)
- Can you provide the necessary non-English translations?
- Do you have access to foreign currency payment options and/or legalization services?
Then you need to determine exactly when to file the renewal. It’s tricky, and every country is just a little different:
- USA after 5, 9, 19, etc years, 1 year free renewal period, 6 month late period with penalty fee (there are 3 on-line options, which do you use when ?)
- EU every 10th year, 6 month free renewal period, and a 25% late fee for a 6 month grace period.
- China & South Korea every 10th year, and all filings, dead and alive, must have a correct address on file before the renewal can be accepted, that address change will cost you extra.
- And…from when ? From date of application or date of registration? It could be one as likely as the other varying by country.
There is also a misconception that you can make changes to your trademark at renewal time with the trademark office. Globally, I have found this is mostly untrue. You can file an additional Petition in some countries to request an amendment, for an additional fee of course.
This might allow you to change very small things like spaces or hyphens or drop a disclaimed word, but you cannot change your logo or your colors or your font or add goods…nothing like that !
You are not allowed to “substantially alter the mark as registered”. If you don’t know what that means, this is yet another good reason to use a reliable professional to manage and maintain your trademarks to keep your brand strong, worldwide.