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Cancellation of a Registered Trademark in India

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Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

A recognised trademark is an original sign, logo, or brand name that sets a good or service apart from others on the market. In India, trademark registration gives the owner legal protection and exclusive rights that let them stop others from using their name without permission. Companies need registered trademarks as they increase the value of the company, help build brand recognition, and win over customers.

A registered trademark can be removed under specific scenarios, though, and is not forever. This could happen if the name is not utilised for a set amount of time, goes generic, or is discovered to be misleading or deceptive. The legal and financial consequences of deleting a registered trademark can be substantial, hence trademark owners must be aware of the reasons and cancellation processes.

Reasons to Cancel a Trademark

1. Not Using the Trademark:

Cancellation of a registered brand is possible if it is not used for three months before registration or for five years following registration. If a trademark owner does not apply the mark for the goods or services for which it was registered for an uninterrupted period of five years or more, this reason applies. Non-use for the specified time shows a lack of real desire to use the trademark, which is a condition for valid registration.

2. Lack of Bona Fide Intention:

Cancellations of trademarks filed without a serious desire to utilise them are possible. Cancellation of the registration is possible if the Registrar finds that the applicant did not have a valid purpose for using the trademark at the time of applying. This issue is not the same as non-use in that it focuses on the applicant’s aim at the time of filing rather than the usage after registration.

3. Generic or abandoned trademarks:

Cancellations of trademarks include those abandoned by the owner or made general. A trademark may be considered generic and cancelled if it no longer has its unique quality and starts to be used equally with the goods or services it represents. Similar cancellations may occur if the trademark owner gives up on the mark by stopping to use it and letting it become public domain.

4. Deceptive, Confusing, or Descriptive Trademarks:

Cancellation of false, confused, too detailed, or regionally descriptive patents is possible. A brand may be withdrawn if it is likely to mislead the public or cause misunderstanding in the market. Should they lack enough uniqueness, trademarks that are only descriptive of the goods or services they represent or are regionally descriptive may also be cancelled.

5. Registration Errors or Fraudulent Means:

Cancelled patents include those that were registered in mistake, won by fraud, or have fake information. A trademark can be revoked if the Registrar finds that it was registered as a result of a mistake or flaw in the registration process. Comparably, a trademark can be withdrawn for fraud if it was gained by submitting misleading or wrong information in the application.

These grounds for trademark cancellation in India cover situations when trademark protection is fundamentally weakened, ensuring that trademarks perform their intended function of being unique and guarding against market misunderstanding or abuse. Maintaining the integrity of the trademark system, the cancellation process allows the removal of illegal or difficult trademarks from the register.

Who Can File for Cancellation?

Aggrieved Persons:

An Indian-registered trademark may be removed by any individual who is offended. An aggrieved person is one who suffers a loss as a result of the registered brand. This covers people, companies, and groups that think trademark registration is unfair, harmful, or violates their rights. The harmed party has to show their direct interest in the cancellation in order to prove locus standi or legal standing. An aggrieved person may be, for instance, an applicant whose trademark application was rejected or contested because a similar or exact mark has already been registered.

Registered Owner:

Furthermore allowed to request removal of their own mark is the registered trademark owner. If a brand is no longer in use, confusingly similar to another trademark, or harmful to the public interest, the registered owner may choose to remove it. The registered owner may, under such circumstances, seek removal under Section 57 of the Trademarks Act, 1999.

Trademarks Registrar:

If, ten years after registration, a trademark is not updated, the Registrar of Trademarks has the power to cancel it ex officio. Indicating that the trademark is no longer in use or important, non-renewal supports its deletion from the register. This move is open to the Registrar without the need for a particular cancellation petition from the party in question.

Procedure for Trademark Cancellation

  1. Filing Petition: The Trademark Registry Office or the Intellectual Property Appellate Board are the right bodies to petition to start the cancellation process. Verify that the petition follows the office’s individual filing rules.
  2. Petition Details and Grounds: The petition must contain detailed information on all parties involved and the reasons for cancellation. It must clearly state why the trademark registration should be cancelled with citations to certain legal reasons like non-use, abandonment, genericness, or fraud.
  3. Notice and Evidence Submission: The trademark owner will receive news from the Registrar or IPAB starting the cancellation process as soon as they receive the plea. Both sides are then expected to submit proof and make cases in favour of their different views. A strong case for or against the cancellation must be made.
  4. Decision Making: After the facts and reasons are sent in, the Registrar or IPAB will study the situation and decide whether to revoke the trademark. Depending on the details of the case, the decision might lead to the name being cancelled, kept, or in another way.

Concerns with Trademark Cancellation

  • Evidence Gathering: Getting enough proof to back up the cancellation grounds is one usual problem in trademark cancellation. Demonstrating non-use, genericity, or fraud names for strong proof may be tough and time-consuming.
  • Legal Procedures: Negotiating the complicated legal processes and factors of the cancellation process can be quite difficult. While fulfilling paperwork requirements, filing the case correctly, and sticking to deadlines are all important, they can be frightening without legal knowledge.
  • Counter Arguments: Dealing with the brand owner’s responses and counterarguments might be tough. Owners may provide solid proof to support their registration, in which case the petitioner must successfully rebut with solid legal reasons and supporting paperwork.
  • Importance of Strong Evidence: Strong proof is needed to back up the reasons for cancellation. Records, market research, and paperwork are needed to support claims of non-use, genericness, or fraud. Strong proof improves the case and raises the chance of a successful cancellation.

Impact on Business

Businesses can be greatly affected by cancellation in a number of ways:

  • Loss of Exclusive Rights: A company running in danger of losing its exclusive rights to patents, trademarks, or other intellectual property runs the danger of being dissolved. This loss may allow rivals that use similar items or brands to weaken the individuality that once defined the company. Businesses might struggle to set themselves apart in the market and protect their ideas without exclusive rights.
  • Renaming Costs: Cancellation frequently demands time-consuming and money-consuming renaming activities. To create a new image and win back customers’ trust, companies would have to spend money on new marketing collateral, logos, and advertising efforts. Rebranding can cause financial difficulty and even loss of market share by upsetting operations, confusing consumers, and weakening brand attachment built over time.
  • Reputation Damage: The loss cancellation causes a company’s brand is maybe its biggest effect. Customers may lose faith and allegiance to a business if it is linked with contentious issues, gets bad press, or is under public scrutiny. Long-term effects of the damaged image might include decreased customer retention, investor trust, and general business survival.

Preventing Revocation

  • Renewal Compliance: If you don’t renew your brand on time, the Registrar may cancel your registration.
  • Keeping Your Uniqueness: Prevent the genericisation of the brand by actively preserving its uniqueness and keeping it from becoming descriptive or generic.
  • Continued Application: Use the name often, leaving no more than five years between uses, to show that it is still useful and to avoid termination for non-use. Regular, honest use is essential for maintaining the trademark’s legality and enforcement.

Conclusion

Finally, trademark cancellation in India is a legal process that allows the deletion of registered trademarks from the record for particular reasons. Among these include genericness, non-use, and registering mistakes. Cancellation can be made by anyone who feels offended; the Trademark Registry Office or Intellectual Property Appellate Board must receive a plea. Trademark owners who want to keep their marks special must update them often to avoid going too long without using them. For a trademark to stay legal and enforceable and to avoid cancellation, it must be filed and kept properly.

Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.