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Oppositions and Cancellations

There are two principal types of administrative dispute mechanisms related to trademarks: Opposition and Cancellation proceedings.


Before any trademark application can mature into a registration, the application must be published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “opposition.” This is a 30-day period in which the Trademark Office lets the world know that an application is about to be registered so that others may come forward and oppose the registration if they feel it might compromise their trademark rights or that the registration is improper in some way. If this happens, an Opposition proceeding is instituted before the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which decides whether the application should truly mature to registration.


Even after a federal trademark registration is issued, it is not immune from attack. Similar to the Opposition proceedings described above, a third party can challenge a trademark registration through a mechanism before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board called a Cancellation proceeding.


Both Oppositions and Cancellations operate much like regular court litigation, but make no mistake, there are plenty of pitfalls for a general practitioner who does not specialize in these types of proceedings. Our team has the intimate knowledge of the particular process involved in Opposition and Cancellation proceedings, grounded in years of experience of guiding clients through the process. It is important to arm yourself with counsel that speaks the language of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and can fight for your rights efficiently in this unique dispute resolution setting. Altera will be your advocate and partner in the event you find yourself at either end of a trademark Opposition or Cancellation proceeding.