Trademark News & Screw-ups Scalebound Trademark Renewed by Microsoft

The headline is misleading. You can only renew a registered trademark. What Microsoft did is they requested and received an extension of time to file the statement of use after Microsoft's trademark application was allowed. In the U.S., a trademark will not get registered until the applicant provides evidence of use to the Trademarks Office. But the applicant may request several extensions of time to file the statement of use, each extension lasting 6 months. During this period, the trademark application is still considered "live" and will prevent anyone else from getting the similar trademarks approved by the Trademarks Office. If the applicant fails to file the statement of use by the time the last extension of time expires, the application will be considered "dead"—and anyone will be free to use or even trademark it, unless the former applicant can prove that they somehow established a common-law right in the name, which is a lot harder than filing the statement of use to satisfy the Trademarks Office. We'll see how this one turns out.

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