A cancellation is the removal of a trademark registration from the register in response to the filing of a cancellation action. The proceedings are initiated when a party with standing files a cancellation action with a designated administrative body within the trademark office or with the responsible court.
Among the many grounds for cancellation, two common ones are that the registered mark is likely to be confused with a prior-registered mark or that it does not meet the requirements for trademark registration, such as by not being distinctive. In most jurisdictions, non-use is also a ground for cancellation when a mark has not been used by its owner for a certain period of time. Requirements to prove use of a trademark vary greatly between jurisdictions.
Regardless of the grounds, a successful cancellation action will lead to the partial or full removal of a registration from the trademark register.
We support the creation and maintenance of cancellation proceedings in the appropriate circumstances as a way to protect brand owners and the public, and to ensure the accuracy of the trademark register by removing marks that are not in use. We advocate for the development of procedural rules and regulations that balance and consider the rights of the parties involved and the public interest.