Revocation of trademark rights

The owner of a registered trademark receives a set of exclusive rights over the mark, which effectively prevents third parties from using it without their expressed consent to do so. However, if a trademark owner does not comply with the applicable laws and standards in place, they may risk revocation of their rights. It is advisable for owners to enlist the assistance and guidance of a professional consultancy firm to guide them in how to comply with the necessary intellectual property laws.

Reasons for revocation of trademark rights

Trademark rights can be revoked as a result of non compliance with certain laws, among many other reasons. Some of the most common reasons for revocation of intellectual property rights are listed below.

Oppositions to the registration of a trademark

If the registration of a certain mark is opposed once it is published in the official gazette, and the reason for the opposition is valid, then trademark rights can be revoked.


Grounds of non-use qualify as a reason for revoking a trademark owner’s rights. Non-use occurs where a mark is not used in a commercial capacity within a period of 3 years from its registration.


If a trademark is used in a manner that is contrary to the regulations and standards stipulated by the relevant intellectual property office and the jurisdiction’s trademark laws, then the owner’s rights over the mark can be revoked.


Genericide is a common reason for revocation of trademark rights and occurs where a mark has become so frequently used by the public that is no longer retains its original purpose of representing a particular brand for a product or service. An example of revocation of trademark rights through genericide is the case involving the trademark ‘elevator’. The company owning the mark ‘elevator’ lost their exclusive rights after the term became so commonly used by the public.

It is important that owners of a logo or mark meet the following requirements:

  • The mark cannot be descriptive
  • It must be capable of graphical representation
  • It must be unique, available to use, and be distinctive

If owners of trademarks use their marks in strict compliance with the standards set by the intellectual registry office, and the provisions set by relevant trademark laws, then the rights of an owner will be protected.