Section 15 Declaration of Incontestability

Section 15 Declaration of Incontestability

Your Section 15 Declaration of Incontestability allows you to request the highest status of trademark protection under federal law. Once your Section 15 Declaration is approved the USPTO, you are protected against many legal challenges that people or businesses might raise to contest your right to your trademark.

If your trademark certificate states that it is on the Principal Register, you have continuously used the mark in commerce for 5 consecutive years since its registration, and no successful challenge has been mounted against your ownership of the trademark or against the mark itself (and no proceeding involving these rights is currently pending) you may file a Declaration of Incontestability.

With incontestable status, you are protected from challenges that your trademark is:

(1) not inherently distinctive and lacks secondary meaning;

2) confusingly similar to a trademark that someone else began using prior to the owner's registration; and

(3) simply functional.

To file this form, additional one-time filing fees apply.

Because a Section 15 Declaration may be filed after 5 years of continuous use, the holder of a trademark's registration may choose to file a combined Section 8 Declaration of Use/Section 15 Declaration of Incontestability. You must qualify under each section independently to file the combined form.

  • Trademark Statement of Use
    To register a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you must prove that you are actively using your trademark to sell goods or sell or advertise services. In other words, you cannot register a trademark simply to tie up the rights to it. You must actually use it in commerce...
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  • Requirements for Filing Statement of Use
    Along with your Statement of Use, you must provide to the USPTO: (1) a filing fee for each class of goods or services, and (2) a specimen showing use of the trademark for each class of goods or services that you originally selected. Your trademark can only be registered in those classes and those...
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  • A Word About Trademark Specimens
    A trademark specimen is a real-world example of how you are using your trademark on goods or in the offer of services. A specimen is more than just a picture of your trademark or logo. For goods (products), acceptable specimens include labels, tags, packaging material, instruction manuals and...
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  • Time Frame for Filing a Trademark Statement of Use
    To complete the trademark registration process, you must file a Trademark Statement of Use within the following time period:
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  • Searching for Conflicting Trademarks
    While you are not required to search for conflicting trademarks, it is highly recommended. Should there be any existing trademarks already federally registered that conflict with yours, your application can be denied and your filing fees would not be refundable. Additionally, since trademarks can...
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  • Legal Requirements for Registering Your Trademark
    There are four basic requirements for filing a trademark (or service mark) with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The trademark must be applied for under the actual owner's name. The owner of the trademark is the person who controls the nature and the quality of the goods sold or the...
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