Can I Register an Abandoned Trademark?

Minnesota trademark attorney Aaron Hall explains the issues faced by those who register an abandoned trademark.

Clients often ask me if they can register a trademark that has been abandoned. Typically they mean they went on the USPTO website, they looked at the trademark there, and they identified that it was named abandoned, or under the USPTO website it was listed as abandoned.

While you can file a trademark registration for an abandoned trademark, you may run into problems with common law trademark. In other words, the owner of that registered trademark may have abandoned the federal trademark registration, but still has common law trademark rights.

It’s important if you’re going to do something like that to meet with an attorney and make sure you’re not infringing someone else’s trademark by trying to register an abandoned U.S. trademark.

Leave a Public Comment

  • Jean Crowder
    August 5, 2016, 5:35 am

    We have a trademark that we would like to register, however, it appears that a main part of the trademark name has been abandoned several times, including by a nationally known toy company. Is there anyway to find out why these were abandoned – if there is a large entity that has filed “cease and desist”
    letters to force abandonments – before we file for trademark with
    our full trademark name? Thank you!

  • illan karak
    June 27, 2014, 9:03 pm

    Good day Aaron,

    I filled a trademark for my DJ name ‘TRUTH’ last year . It was approved by USPTO and reached the “published for opposition” stage. Serial no. 85814418

    A group called Truth opposed my application and due to me not answering their request my application is abandoned.

    The reason why Im reaching out is because they tried to file the name for themselves, but they got a “Suspension Notice:No Response Needed”. Serial No. 86163415

    Would this be a good time to try to learn from my mistake and their mistakes to successfully acquire my trademark. Do they still have the right to stop me even though their application didn’t get as far into the process as mine.

    Looking forward to your input on this matter.