Protecting A Mark in West Virginia
The Model Trademark Act in West Virginia
On July 1, 2001, West Virginia's version of the Model Trademark Act reached it's fifth anniversary. When adopted in 1996, the change moved West Virginia from a system of registration with no expiration to a fixed term registration. The law provided that all marks registered before July 1, 1996 would expire on July 1, 2001, unless renewed before that date. From the 6,300 plus marks on file before the July expiration, the total number of registered marks dropped below 700. All marks now in effect have a term of ten years from first registration or renewal.
The law passed in 1996 by the West Virginia Legislature generally adopted the model laws proposed by the International Trademark Association, with some modifications to fit West Virginia needs. The previous law, in effect until June 30, 1996, did not allow service marks and registration had no term. Some of the marks on file dated back to the early 1900s.
Some features of current law include:
- Registration of both trademarks (for products) and service marks (for services).
- New registrations effective for 10 years.
- Adoption of the product and service classifications of the USPTO.
- Limitation on registration to marks which are currently in use.
- Procedures for renewal, assignment, change of name, and cancellation.
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