What Is A Trademark Cancellation
A trademark cancellation is the removal of a Trademark. Trademark owners sometimes file a Trademark cancellation on Trademarks that are no longer in use.
For the public, Trademark Cancellations are important because it means that particular Trademark has become unenforceable and can be used by any company who wants to use it for their own product.
How Trademark Cancellations Work
Before a Trademark can be Cancelled, someone has to file a Petition for Cancellation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The actual Trademark holder does not receive the Petition – Trademark Cancellations are registered by USPTO. This is important because even though Trademarks can be transferred between companies, Trademark Cancellations cannot. The Trademark must die with its original owner or holder.
If the Trademark Holder files a response to the Petition for Cancellation, then there is an administrative Trademark Trial. This is like a court proceeding where the Trademark Holder gets to present their case against giving up their Trademark. Trademark Cancellations can be fought, but it is more common for them not to be fought by the Trademark Holder if there is no active business using the Trademark.
If the Trademark Holder does not respond to the Petition for Cancellation within 30 days, then the Trademark is cancelled automatically. Trademark Cancellations are final and usually cannot be appealed (exceptions do exist).
The Trademark Office can also initiate Trademark Cancellations on its own. Trademarks that are considered “abandoned” Trademarks by the Trademark Office can be easily subject to Trademark Cancellations. Trademarks that are considered “generic” Trademarks by Trademark Courts can also be subject to Trademark Cancellations. Generic Trademarks are quite a bit more difficult to get approval for since generic Trademarks describe a type of good or service, not a single brand of good or service.
Trademark Cancellations are the only way to remove Trademarks once they are registered by USPTO. Trademark Termination can occur before Trademarks are approved but Trademark Terminations cannot be issued after Trademarks are already Trademarked.
Why Are Trademarks Cancelled
Trademarks are cancelled for various reasons. Trademark holders can file to cancel Trademarks if they haven’t used them in three years, if the Trademark is deemed generic or already in use by another company, or if the Trademark could be considered offensive. Cancellations allow companies who want to use the Trademark opportunities that might otherwise have been unavailable to them. Trademark Cancellations allow Trademarks to be shared out, and let companies more easily use Trademarks that they might want without fear of legal repercussions.
Trademark Cancellations are part of the trademark registration process. Trademark registration is granted by USPTO but Trademark registrations do not end with Trademark approvals; Trademark registrations continue on Trademark Cancellations. Trademark holders need to be aware of Trademark Cancellations for their Trademarks, and understanding Trademark Cancellation procedures is integral to successfully protecting Trademarks.
How Can You Prevent Your Trademark From Being Cancelled
Trademark Owners should monitor Trademark Registrations and Trademark Cancellations to make sure that their Trademark has not been cancelled. Trademark Owners should know their Trademark Cancellation rights. Trademark Owners should proactively seek Trademark Registrations to avoid Trademark cancellation. Trademark holders can also fight Trademark Cancellations by responding to the Petition for Cancellation with evidence that the Trademark is still in use.
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