CANCELLATION OF A TRADEMARK
Under certain conditions a trademark can be cancelled and removed from the register. This applies both to national and union trademarks. Such a request for cancellation may be filed where the applicant acted in bad faith when filing the application. This mainly concerns cases where the applicant was pursuing illicit aims in filing the application for the trademark. Pursuant to German trademark law an application for cancellation of a trademark is possible while the trademark is still in the application process, whereas an application for cancellation of a union trademark is only admissible if the union trademark in question has been entered in the union trademark register at the Office.
A trademark may also be cancelled for lack of distinctiveness. An application for cancellation of a trademark due to lack of distinctiveness often results in trademark conflicts between the parties. In case the alleged infringer doubts the distinctiveness of the proprietor’s trademark, the infringer may apply for cancellation of the trademark due to lack of distinctiveness. With reference to a German trademark, only the recognition which the German targeted public may have acquired of a trademark is relevant. With reference to a union trademark, the recognition which the targeted public in a EU member state may have acquired of a trademark is relevant. Whereas in Cyprus a word mark may be considered to be descriptive of characteristics of goods and services, in other EU member states it is not. However, the consumer’s reaction to a mark in one of the member states (e.g. Cyprus) is sufficient for the cancellation of the union trademark.
Another ground for cancellation of a trademark may be where another earlier right exists. It has to be taken into consideration that the owner of a trademark is not obliged to constantly supervise his trademark. An action for cancellation of a trademark may also be brought because of earlier rights if there is similarity or identity between the signs and/or identity or similarity of the goods and services covered by the trademarks. „Earlier rights“ may also apply to company names.