Trademark cancellations- Fundamentals You Should Know

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Even when a trademark is registered, it may not be unbreakable, rigid, or “bulletproof.” In order to maintain the registration’s validity, the holder will occasionally have to update it. The process known as trademark cancellation allows somebody else to oppose the registration. There are multiple legal justifications or grounds for trademark cancellation. A federal trademark attorney can help you if you need to revoke a trademark registration or fight against one. This article will walk you through everything you should know about trademark cancellation.

What exactly is trademark cancellation?

The legal procedure for withdrawing any registered trademark from the public record is called a trademark cancellation. It enables some other person to acquire the trademark.
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Under the Lanham Act, federal trademark cancellation is a legally valid defense. The objective is to make it possible for a person to request the deletion of a trademark from the federal register. It is accomplished by submitting a petition for cancellation, which is typically fought before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). 

The matter may sometimes be addressed in federal court, and the judges could also withdraw a trademark in such a situation. When a trademark is to be canceled, the applicant needs to demonstrate that continuing to use the mark will be damaging. It is not as tough as it seems at first since the petitioners only have to demonstrate that harm could arise rather than that they have already done so.

In practice, the TTAB is concerned with trademark owners who attempt to block genuine competitors by misusing their trademarks. Each and every year, tons of cancellation applications are submitted.

Difference between trademark cancellation and opposition

Opposition to a trademark is distinct from cancellation. Whereas trademark cancellation aims to get rid of a trademark that has already been granted, trademark opposition is submitted prior to the federal trademark registration process. 

Whenever anyone applies for federal trademark registration, it’ll be made public in the USPTO gazette. Anybody wishing to contest a mark has to do so within thirty days of publishing. Petitions might point out legal disputes with the request or declare that they might suffer losses if the trademark were to be approved.

Reasons for Trademark Cancellation

To withdraw a trademark, you must first submit a petition for cancellation. You must establish your legal authority to cancel the mark in the application for cancellation. Additionally, you’ll have to submit the federal trademark filing fees. This can be completed online or on hand. You need to show that there are reasons why the trademark should be canceled. 5 years after a trademark’s initial registration, one can ask to have it canceled. If you satisfy specific requirements, you could also request a cancellation within 5 years of re-publication.

Here are some reasons for cancellation within 5 years-

  • The mark may be mistaken for your home or place of business.
  • Even before the trademark’s registered holder, you used it.
  • The mark is a person’s last surname, is descriptive, or identifies a place, such as a state or a town.
  • It is misleading.
  • You can show that the holder never planned to use the trademark; the mark was never used prior to registration.
  • At least 3 years have passed since any use or defense of the trademark.
  • The registration was invalid.
  • The trademark reduces some other mark’s usability or commercial character.
  • Significant mistakes were made when the current trademark was first registered.

There are separate conditions for deletion if the trademark has already been held for longer than 5 years:

  • The trademark is now referred to generically due to its extreme popularity.
  • The holder of the trademark has officially abandoned it.
  • In a certain way, the mark violates morality, is misleading, or is obscene.
  • The trademark’s owner intends improper use.
  • The mark has never been utilized as either a trademark or service mark.
  • The mark is used to signify several marks on a single application.
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  • Without the person’s permission, the mark includes the name of a living person.

Without any of the necessary legal expertise, handling trademark cancellation cases can sometimes be challenging because they are usually quite contested. You require legal representation if you really want to ensure that your trademark cancellation request is approved and that you can regain possession of your legitimate mark. It is highly improbable that a self-represented party will prevail in a cancellation petition or defense. Therefore, it is advisable that you consult with an experienced federal trademark attorney and let them guide you through the process.

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