Trade Marks

How to Remove a Trade Mark for Non-Use: A Comprehensive Guide

Max Steinhausen

Trade marks are valuable assets that help businesses protect their brands and maintain a competitive edge in the market. However, to ensure the integrity of the trade mark system, it is essential for trade mark owners to use their marks actively and protect them from misuse. This is where the concept of "non-use" comes into play. In this article, we will explore what non-use of a trade mark means and how to remove a trade mark for non-use.

Understanding Non-Use of a Trade Mark

Non-use of a trade mark refers to a situation where the registered owner of a trade mark fails to use the mark for an extended period without valid reasons. In most jurisdictions, including Australia, China, the European Union, and many other countries, trade marks are registered with an expectation that they will be used to identify and distinguish the goods or services they represent. Failing to do so may lead to the removal of the trade mark's protection.

The specific rules and timeframes for proving non-use can vary from one jurisdiction to another. However, some common principles apply.

  1. Time Period for Non-Use: Most countries stipulate a specific time period during which a trade mark must be used to maintain its registration. This period typically ranges from 3 to 5 years from the date of registration or the last use of the mark.
  2. Acceptable Use: To demonstrate use, the mark must be utilized in a manner consistent with its registration. This means it should be affixed to goods or used in connection with services to the extent it was originally registered for.
  3. Proof of Use: Generally, the burden of proof falls on the party claiming non-use. They must provide evidence that the mark has not been genuinely used, while the trade mark owner may need to demonstrate that the mark is indeed in use.

Now, let's delve into the steps involved in removing a trade mark for non-use.

Steps to Remove a Trade Mark for Non-Use

  1. Research and Consultation: Before proceeding with any non-use action, it's advisable to consult with an experienced intellectual property advisor. They can provide guidance on the specific requirements and processes in your jurisdiction.
  2. Establish Non-Use: To begin the removal process, you should collect evidence to establish that the trade mark has not been used within the relevant non-use period. This may involve conducting market research, contacting former business associates, or reviewing records of trade mark usage.
  3. Prepare a Cancellation Application: Depending on your jurisdiction, you will need to file a petition or cancellation application with the appropriate government agency responsible for trade mark registration. This document should outline the grounds for non-use and, if necessary, provide evidence to support your claim.
  4. Service and Notification: After filing, the trade mark owner must be properly notified of the non-use removal proceedings. In most cases, trade marks office will notify the trade mark owner and serve the non-use removal application.
  5. Response from the Trade Mark Owner: The trade mark owner will have an opportunity to respond to the non-use claim within a stipulated timeframe. They may provide evidence of use or present arguments in their defense.
  6. Further Proceedings: If the matter remains unresolved, it may proceed to a hearing or trial. Both parties will have an opportunity to present their case, and the decision will be made based on the evidence and arguments made.
  7. Trade Mark Removal: If it is determined that the trade mark has indeed been abandoned due to non-use, the trade mark will be removed from the registry, and its protection will cease.


Non-use of a trade mark can lead to the loss of valuable intellectual property rights. However, the process of removing a trade mark for non-use is not straightforward and varies from one jurisdiction to another. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with an experienced intellectual property advisor who can guide you through the process and help you build a strong case for non-use. If you suspect a trade mark is no longer in use and want to explore removal options, taking the right steps can help protect your own intellectual property rights and maintain the integrity of the trade mark system.

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IP Australia  s

I've been working with Max and the team for a number of years now. They have helped me with multiple trade marks, objections/challenges and advice around the technicalities of the law. I would highly recommend talking to them if you're looking for great customer service, advice and results!

Mathew Stillone
Founder/Managing Director, Integrity Food Co.

Thank you to Max and the whole team! Your work is always of a high standard, professional and timely. I highly recommend Max and the team to any organisation needing IP support!

Anthea Thomas
Director, Hypnobirthing Australia

Excellent service, great result. We initially had issues with our trademark and called them to lodge a declaration to support the mark. Our mark was finally accepted and we believe this was only due to the thorough and detailed documents that were submitted to the trademark office. Great work!

Jason Morrisby
Founder/ Director, Mask Co.

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