San Francisco, CA asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for California

Q: How can a abondoned trademark be acquired? Is there a simple transaction process?

I would like to find out if I could purchase a trademark which has been abandoned.

2 Lawyer Answers
Julie King
Julie King
  • Monterey, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Although it might seem like an abandoned trademark is fully available for you to have, it may not be. Sometimes a trademark becomes abandoned because the owner forgot to file one document. It is possible to revive an abandoned trademark if the owner pays a fee and files the right document within the time required by law.

The other thing to consider is that rights to trademarks in the United States are obtained by using the trademark in commerce. So, the first to USE it has rights over someone who files an application to obtain rights to the same mark if the applicant has never used it or started using it after the first person. [Other countries have a "first to file" ownership right. The U.S. does not use that standard.] All that having been said, it is possible that the mark may be available for you to acquire. I just wanted you to know that "abandoned" is not the same as "available." I hope that helps!

Griffin Klema
Griffin Klema
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Tampa, FL

A: You may be able to register the mark for yourself. Trademark rights are based on use, not on a legal document called a "registration." I recommend hiring an intellectual property lawyer who can tell you whether you can just register a new mark yourself. See more information here:

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