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What is a cancellation?

A cancellation is a challenge to a trademark registration that has been issued by a trademark office. Cancellation actions are generally based on the claim that a trademark was unregistrable because it is confusingly similar to a registered mark or did not meet the formal requirements for trademark registration such as distinctiveness. Furthermore, most countries provide for cancellation actions to challenge registrations when the trademark has not been used by its owner for a certain period of time. In both cases, a successful cancellation action will lead to the partial or full expungement of a trademark registration.

Cancellation proceedings are usually governed by specific regulations and initiated by filing of a cancellation action to either a designated body within the trademark office or the responsible court for decision. For non-use cancellation proceedings the requirements to prove use of a trademark vary greatly between jurisdictions.

INTA’s Position

INTA supports the creation and maintenance of cancellation proceedings as a way to protect brand owners and the public, and ensure the accuracy of the public records by removing trademarks that are not in use from the trademark register.  INTA advocates for the creation of cancellation proceedings and the development of procedural rules and regulations for such procedures which balance and consider the rights of the parties involved as well as the public interest.

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