A recent trend has emerged wherein startups, with little or no relation to nostalgia brands from the past, will obtain the rights to bring a gone-but-not-forgotten product back to the market. From fashion to watches to candy, many new companies have taken dead or expired trademarks and given them new life. In fact, marketplaces have emerged where new businesses can purchase an old brand, but it isn’t usually necessary to buy a brand that’s no longer in use.
Former couture label Paul Poiret was recently put up for sale by former owner Luvanis SA after being dormant for 80 years.
Reviving a well-known brand can save millions of dollars in upfront marketing costs that can be used in other areas of the business. And, Marks contends, name recognition makes it easier to capture attention in a crowded marketplace, especially if customers remember the brand fondly.
The first step to reviving an old brand is finding out who owns the rights to the trademark, determining whether or not it’s still in use, and determining what you will need to do to obtain rights to the mark. Initially, you will want to conduct a trademark search in order to determine whether or not the trademark is available. You can hire a lawyer to conduct this process for you.
Trademark rights arise out of using the mark in commerce, and if a mark isn’t used, then the rights to use the mark becomes free. Generally, a trademark needs to have been used within the last five years in order to stay protected. If the mark has been abandoned, then it becomes available to others.
It’s up to you to obtain the trademark registration and use the mark in commerce in order to protect your rights to your new old brand. Consider buying the domain name for the product and forming a corporate entity for your new business.
If the trademark has been used recently, or the mark is still active on the registration, you may consider contacting the owner of the mark to inquire about its availability and offer to purchase it along with whatever other intellectual property you may need to bring your product back to life.