TMEP 1604.11 “Excusable Nonuse” of Mark

Extracted from 37 C.F.R. §2.161. A complete affidavit or declaration under section 8 of the Act must: . . .

(2) If the registered mark is not in use in commerce on or in connection with all the goods, services, or classes specified in the registration, set forth the date when such use of the mark in commerce stopped and the approximate date when such use is expected to resume; and recite facts to show that nonuse as to those goods, services, or classes is due to special circumstances that excuse the nonuse and is not due to an intention to abandon the mark[.]


The purpose of Section 8 of the Trademark Act is to remove from the register those registrations that have become deadwood.   See Morehouse Mfg. Corp. v. J. Strickland & Co., 407 F.2d 881, 160 USPQ 715 (C.C.P.A. 1969) .  It is not intended, however, to cancel registrations because of a temporary interruption in the use of the mark due to circumstances beyond the control of the owner of the registration.   In re Moorman Mfg. Co.,203 USPQ 712 (Comm’r Pats. 1979).  Thus, if the mark is not in use in commerce but the owner believes the registration should not be cancelled, the owner may file an affidavit or declaration showing that nonuse is due to special circumstances that excuse the nonuse, and is not due to any intention to abandon the mark.  15 U.S.C. §1058(b)(2); Ex parte Kelley-How-Thomson Co., 118 USPQ 40 (Comm’r Pats. 1958).


Requirements for Affidavit or Declaration

Since "showing" implies proof, merely stating that special circumstances exist and there is no intention to abandon the mark is not sufficient.   In re Conusa Corp., 32 USPQ2d 1857 (Comm'r Pats. 1993); In re Moorman Mfg. Co., supra; Ex parte Astra Pharm. Prod., Inc., 118 USPQ 368 (Comm’r Pats. 1958); Ex parte Denver Chem. Mfg. Co., 118 USPQ 106 (Comm’r Pats. 1958).  The affidavit or declaration must state when use in commerce stopped and give the approximate date when use is expected to resume.  37 C.F.R. §2.161(f)(2).  If the mark was registered under §44(e) and the owner was unable to commence use due to special circumstances beyond the owner’s control that excuse the nonuse, the owner should state that the mark was never in use and give the approximate date when use is expected to begin. Affidavits or declarations should also specify the reason for nonuse, the specific steps being taken to put the mark back in use, and any other relevant facts to support a finding of excusable nonuse.


Sufficient facts must be set forth to demonstrate clearly that nonuse is due to some special circumstance beyond the owner's control or "forced by outside causes."   In re Conusa Corp., supra; In re Moorman Mfg. Co., supra; Ex parte Kelley-How-Thomson Co., Supra.


The goods/services/classes for which excusable nonuse is claimed must be specified.  See TMEP §§1604.09 et seq. regarding proper specification of the goods/services/collective membership organization in a §8 affidavit or declaration.

In a multiple-class registration, there must be a recitation of facts as to nonuse for each class to which the affidavit or declaration pertains, or it must be clear that the facts recited apply to all the classes.


Presumption of Abandonment

If the mark has not been in use for three consecutive years and the owner has done nothing to try to resume use of the mark, the USPTO may presume that the owner has abandoned the mark.  15 U.S.C.  §1127;  see Imperial Tobacco Ltd. v. Phillip Morris Inc., 899 F.2d 1575, 14 USPQ2d 1390 (Fed. Cir. 1990); Stromgren Supports Inc. v. Bike Athletic Co., 43 USPQ2d 1100 (TTAB 1997).

 

Examples of Special Circumstances that Do and Do Not Excuse Nonuse

In addition to a showing that there is no intention to abandon the mark, the owner must show that nonuse is due to special circumstances beyond the owner's control that excuse nonuse.  The following examples provide general guidelines as to what is considered to be a special circumstance that excuses nonuse:


Supplementary Evidence or Explanation of Nonuse

If the USPTO determines that the facts set forth do not establish excusable nonuse, the owner may file supplementary evidence or explanation, within the response period set forth in the Office action.  If the affidavit or declaration included a claim of excusable nonuse when filed, no deficiency surcharge will be required for supplementing this claim with additional evidence or an explanation.


New Affidavit or Declaration Claiming Use

If there is time remaining in the statutory filing period (including the grace period) and the owner responds to the Office action by submitting a new affidavit or declaration with a claim of use, specimen, and filing fee, the USPTO will examine the new affidavit or declaration of use.

ResponseOfficeAction.com


Call 1-651-500-7590 or email WP@NJP.legal for Responses to Office Actions; File or Defend an Opposition or Cancellation; Trademark Searches and Applications; Send or Respond to Cease and Desist Letters.

For more information from Not Just Patents, see our other sites:      

Steps to a Patent    How to Patent An Invention

Should I Get A Trademark or Patent?

Trademark e Search    Strong Trademark     Enforcing Trade Names

Common Law Trademarks  Trademark Goodwill   Abandoned Trademarks

Chart of Patent vs. Trade Secret

Patent or Trademark Assignments

Trademark Disclaimers   Trademark Dilution     TSDR Status Descriptors

Oppose or Cancel? Examples of Disclaimers  Business Cease and Desist

Patent, Trademark & Copyright Inventory Forms

Verify a Trademark  Be First To File    How to Trademark Search

Are You a Content Provider-How to Pick an ID  Specimens: webpages

How to Keep A Trade Secret

State & Federal Trade Secret Laws

Using Slogans (Taglines), Model Numbers as Trademarks

Which format? When Should I  Use Standard Characters?

Opposition Pleadings    UDRP Elements    


Oppositions-The Underdog    Misc Changes to TTAB Rules 2017

How To Answer A Trademark Cease and Desist Letter

Converting Provisional to Nonprovisional Patent Application (or claiming benefit of)

Trademark Refusals    Does not Function as a Mark Refusals

Insurance Extension  Advantages of ®

How to Respond to Office Actions

What is a Compact Patent Prosecution?

Acceptable Specimen       Supplemental Register   $224 Statement of Use

How To Show Acquired Distinctiveness Under 2(f)

Trademark-Request for Reconsideration

Why Not Just Patents? Functional Trademarks   How to Trademark     

What Does ‘Use in Commerce’ Mean?    

Grounds for Opposition & Cancellation     Cease and Desist Letter

Trademark Incontestability  TTAB Manual (TBMP)

Valid/Invalid Use of Trademarks     Trademark Searching

TTAB/TBMP Discovery Conferences & Stipulations

TBMP 113 Service of TTAB Documents  TBMP 309 Standing

Examples and General Rules for Likelihood of Confusion

USPTO Search Method for Likelihood of Confusion

Examples of Refusals for Likelihood of Confusion   DuPont Factors

What are Dead or Abandoned Trademarks?

 Can I Use An Abandoned Trademark?

Color as Trade Dress  3D Marks as Trade Dress  

Can I Abandon a Trademark During An Opposition?

Differences between TEAS and TEAS plus  

How do I Know If Someone Has Filed for An Extension of Time to Oppose?

Ornamental Refusal  Standard TTAB Protective Order

SCAM Letters Surname Refusal


What Does Published for Opposition Mean?

What to Discuss in the Discovery Conference

Descriptive Trademarks Trademark2e.com  

Likelihood of Confusion 2d

Acquired Distinctiveness  2(f) or 2(f) in part

Merely Descriptive Trademarks  

Merely Descriptive Refusals

ID of Goods and Services see also Headings (list) of International Trademark Classes

Register a Trademark-Step by Step  

Protect Business Goodwill Extension of Time to Oppose

Geographically Descriptive or Deceptive

Change of Address with the TTAB using ESTTA

Likelihood of confusion-Circuit Court tests

Pseudo Marks    How to Reply to Cease and Desist Letter

Not Just Patents Often Represents the Underdog

 Overcome Merely Descriptive Refusal   Overcome Likelihood Confusion

Protecting Trademark Rights (Common Law)

Steps in a Trademark Opposition Process   

Section 2(d) Refusals   FilingforTrademark.com

Zombie Trademark  

What is the Difference between Principal & Supplemental Register?

Typical Brand Name Refusals  What is a Family of Marks? What If Someone Files An Opposition Against My Trademark?

How to Respond Office Actions  

DIY Overcoming Descriptive Refusals

Trademark Steps Trademark Registration Answers TESS  

Trademark Searching Using TESS  Trademark Search Tips

Trademark Clearance Search   DIY Trademark Strategies

Published for Opposition     What is Discoverable in a TTAB Proceeding?

Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses


©2008-2017 All Rights Reserved. Not Just Patents LLC, PO Box 18716, Minneapolis, MN 55418.

Call: 1-651-500-7590 or email: WP@NJP.legal. This site is for informational purposes only and is provided without warranties, express or implied, regarding the information's accuracy, timeliness, or completeness and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney/client relationship exists without a written contract between Not Just Patents LLC and its client. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Privacy Policy Contact Us

 

Not Just Patents® LLC

PO Box 18716

Minneapolis, MN 55418  

1-651-500-7590    

WP@NJP.legal


Not Just Patents®

Aim Higher® Facts Matter