What is a cancellation proceeding?
A cancellation proceeding is initiated by a party seeking to use a mark which is already registered by someone else, or who believes that it is being (or will be) damaged by a registered mark belonging to someone else. This proceeding is initiated by that party filing an application with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The Board will then notify the trademark’s owner that a cancellation proceeding has been initiated. A cancellation proceeding is the subsequent proceeding between these two parties (the trademark owner and the challenging party) and it operates 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 they may still have state rights in the mark).
The whole process of a cancellation proceeding, from start to finish, can take anywhere from one to several years.