What is a cancellation proceeding?
A cancellation proceeding is initiated by a party who is seeking to use a mark which is currently registered by someone else, or who believes that it is being (or will be) damaged by that registered mark. This proceeding is initiated by the party filing an application with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The Board will then notify the trademark’s owner that a cancellation proceeding had been initiated.
A cancellation proceeding is a proceeding between the two parties (the trademark owner and the challenging party) that runs much like an in-court lawsuit. During the course of this proceeding, the parties will exchange evidence regarding their respective trademarks and other issues relevant to the cancellation proceeding. They will ultimately file briefs with the Board, which will review these briefs and make a decision as to whether the trademark should be canceled. If the Board determines that there is a valid ground for cancellation of the mark, the trademark will no longer be registered and the owner will no longer be entitled to exclude others from using the mark under the federal trademark scheme (but there may still be state rights in the mark).
The whole process of a cancellation proceeding, from start to finish, can take anywhere form one to several years.