What to do when changing or modernising your trademark?

If you decide to completely change your wordmark or logo after a number of years, you will of course have to apply for a new registration anyway.

However, what should you do if you decide to give your trademark a limited facelift?

In order to maintain a valid registration, you must use the trademark in the same way as it was registered. However, minor modifications that do not affect the distinctive character of the trademark will be acceptable without invalidating your registration in the long run.

Your existing registration itself cannot be amended: you cannot replace the old version of your device mark by the new version in your existing registration, nor can you claim additional products or services. For this reason, a new registration is usually necessary.

Even with minor changes to your trademark, re-registration of the modified trademark will be recommended. If you are confronted with an infringementof your trademark rights, any difference between your registered trademark and your trademark as it is actually used, may lead to legal discussions. The time and cost that can be spent on such matters will often be disproportionate to the more limited cost of a new registration.

Furthermore, unless the differences are so important that your new trademark no longer bears any significant resemblance to your old trademark, it is best to maintain your existing registration of your ‘old’ trademark and continue to renew it. If you do not renew your registration, you will lose the rights associated with it and thus its seniority as if the registration had never existed. This could have disastrous consequences if a third party registers a similar trademark in the meantime.

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