If somebody registers a trademark for their company name and the name of its flagship product, and uses this names for a while, but then one day decides to stop using it and publicly announce they will never use the old name again, is the trademark still theirs, or is it automatically terminated?

If not immediately, is it terminated after some period of time where the owner does not use it?

Does it matter that the owner publicly proclaimed they'd never use it again?

3 Answers 3


A trademark must be used

Use is inherent in the definition of a trademark: “the owner intends, and does, use the trade mark to distinguish its goods or services from goods or services dealt with or provided by others.”

Anyone can apply to have a disused trademark deregistered. The application can be opposed by the owner who bears the onus of proving it is still in use.

An owner who made a public announcement that they would no longer use it would have a hard time proving they still were. Also, they might be estopped from opposing the application at all.


Well, a registered trademark is a registered trademark because it's registered. So to make it available again, that registration would need to be deleted. A simple announcement that it will no longer be used is not sufficient. Of course, the company could refrain from suing anybody for using the trademark, but that's a bit a risky path for anyone to rely on.

(and probably many European countries)

There's a rule that a trademark is only valid as long as it's in use. If, for more than 5 years, the registered owner appears to be no longer using it, anyone can request its deletion for a small fee and some evidence that the trademark is not being used. If the trademark belongs to a company that no longer exists, that is a strong indication that it is no longer used. Source


In the U.S., a registered trademark has to be periodically renewed with a statement stating that it continues to be used in interstate or international commerce, and if this ceases to happen, it lapses by operation of law.

In the fact pattern of the question, announcing it will no longer be used would probably be a good defense to a trademark infringement suit from the registered trademark owner, at a minimum, as a common law estoppel or waiver, and as a defense to the affirmative case on the ground that there are no damages and that there is no possibility of confusion.

On the other hand, it someone tried to mislead the public into thinking the the no longer used trademark that they were now using was still being used by a successor to the original owner, that could be grounds for a suit to enjoin the use to defraud the public if it harmed the registered owner of the trademark that had not yet lapsed by operation of law.

It is possible to file a form with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) prospectively cancelling a registered trademark. Often this would be done as part of a settlement of a litigation dispute involving the trademark.

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