A canceled trademark registration in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a trademark registration that’s no longer valid. Once a registration is canceled, it’s considered dead and cannot be used by the USPTO to refuse registration of a trademark filed by someone else. The owner of a canceled trademark registration loses all of the benefits of trademark registration, and it potentially creates a situation where someone else could register a confusingly similar trademark for identical or related products/services.
An abandoned trademark is not same as an abandoned trademark application you may come across when performing a trademark check using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). The difference between the two is extremely important in determining whether your use of a particular mark is in violation of someone else’s trademark rights. Although people (including attorneys) frequently use the phrase “abandoned trademark” to refer to an abandoned trademark application, such use is improper, imprecise, and can mislead others into believing that a trademark is available for use and registration when it is not.
A dead trademark in the USPTO means that the trademark application or registration is no longer active. A trademark check using the free Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) can easily reveal hundreds (if not thousands) of dead trademarks, many of which might have been dead for years or even decades. But why would a trademark be dead? In other words, what leads to a trademark application or registration becoming inactive?
A collective trademark is similar in some ways to a traditional trademark and is afforded the same protection from infringement and misappropriation under the law. Although they are far rarer than traditional trademarks, collective trademarks still play an important role in the marketplace and convey information to consumers that could affect their purchasing decisions and whether to do business with one product/service provider over another.
A certification mark serves a very different purpose than a traditional trademark (or service mark). Although certification marks aren’t nearly as common as trademarks, it’s still extremely important that businesses, organizations, and associations don’t ignore or overlook them when performing a trademark search to check the availability of a trademark for use with specific products or services. I strongly recommend reviewing my article titled “What is a Trademark?” before reading this article because it will give you some helpful background information about trademarks and the role they play in our everyday lives.