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 Trademark Withdrawal in India  

Trademark Withdrawal

Trademark Withdrawal in India  

Trademark withdrawal is a legal mechanism allowing trademark proprietors to annul their Trademark registration or application officially. This action relinquishes the exclusive rights and protections previously accorded to their mark, thereby reintroducing the trademark into the public domain for potential use and registration by others. The decision to withdraw a trademark typically stems from strategic business considerations, legal obstacles, or a pivot in brand orientation. It’s imperative for entities contemplating this route to fully grasp the ramifications and procedural intricacies involved in trademark withdrawal.

The Essence of Trademark Registration

A trademark serves as a distinctive identifier, such as a symbol, word, or phrase, that signifies a company or product, setting it apart from competitors in the marketplace. Registering a trademark officially secures the rights to this identifier, providing legal safeguards against its unauthorized exploitation.

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This formal acknowledgement cements a brand’s identity and endows the proprietor exclusive utilization rights in the commercial domain. Nevertheless, holders may retract their trademarks under specific circumstances like strategic realignments, legal challenges, or brand evolution. This withdrawal formally nullifies the registration and the attendant rights, making the trademark accessible for adoption and use by others.

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Understanding Trademark Withdrawal

Trademark withdrawal encompasses the procedure by which an individual rescinds their trademark application before its formal endorsement. In India, trademark withdrawal can be effected voluntarily or as necessitated by particular scenarios, detailed as follows:

Voluntary Withdrawal

Applicants wishing to retract trademark applications can do so digitally, leading the Registrar to designate the trademark’s status as ‘withdrawn’ within the Indian Trademark Registry.

Withdrawal Following Rejection

When a trademark application faces rejection by the Hearing Officer or Trademark Officer, the applicant can withdraw. This withdrawal is treated as though the application was never filed, devoid of any subsequent repercussions.

Legal Framework for Trademark Withdrawal in India

The Trademark Act of 1999, particularly in Sections 47, 50, and 57, delineates the legal foundation for trademark withdrawal in India, establishing grounds such as:

  • Non-Use: A trademark not utilized for five years post-registration may be withdrawn.
  • Public Confusion: Withdrawal may be warranted if the trademark’s use leads to public deception or confusion.
  • Misrepresentation or Omission: Withdrawal is an option if material facts were misrepresented or omitted during the registration process, which would have otherwise precluded registration.
  • Change in Brand Condition: Post-registration, changes in brand circumstances that invalidate the registration can also prompt withdrawal.

Legal and Practical Grounds for Trademark Withdrawal 

In India, the process of withdrawing a trademark registration is guided by specific rules in the Trademark Act of 1999, particularly in Sections 47, 50, and 57. These sections outline legal reasons for withdrawing a trademark:

  • Non-Use After Five Years: A trademark can be withdrawn if it hasn’t been used for five years after registration. This is to ensure trademarks are actively used.
  • Public Confusion: A trademark that confuses or deceives the public might be withdrawn. This is to prevent any misunderstanding about the goods or services it represents.
  • Misrepresentation or Omission: If important facts were wrongly presented or left out during the trademark registration, and these would have prevented the trademark from being registered, the trademark might be withdrawn.
  • Change in Brand Condition: The trademark can be withdrawn if the brand undergoes significant changes that render the trademark registration invalid.

Besides these legal reasons, trademarks might also be withdrawn for practical reasons, such as:

  • The trademark was registered without a real plan to use it.
  • The trademark has been unused for five years, even after registration.
  • The trademark causes confusion among consumers.
  • The application for the trademark had missing or incorrect information.
  • Changes in the brand after the trademark was registered make the trademark irrelevant.
  • Not following the rules set by the Register of Trademarks.

Sometimes, the trademark owner might withdraw it if a business is closing down. Trademark owners must be aware of these conditions to manage their trademarks effectively.

Trademark Classification in India

Authorized Bodies for Managing Trademark Withdrawal Requests

In India, the responsibility for overseeing the withdrawal of trademark registrations falls to the Registrar of Trademarks and the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.

  • The Registrar of Trademarks handles requests for trademark withdrawals. Additionally, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board plays a significant role in adjudicating issues related to trademark withdrawals.
  • When these authorities verify that the applicant has satisfied all conditions for withdrawing a trademark, they formally annul or retract the trademark registration.

Required Forms for Initiating Trademark Withdrawal

According to the Trademark Rules of 2017, withdrawing a trademark in India necessitates submitting specific forms to the Registrar. These forms are integral to the withdrawal application and must accompany the initial withdrawal request.

For trademark withdrawal in India, there are mainly two forms that are used, depending on the grounds for withdrawal:

  • Form TM-O: Employed for trademark withdrawal cases that align with the grounds outlined in sections 47 and 57 of the Trademark Act. This form is chosen when the reasons for withdrawal involve non-use or other conditions specified under these sections.
  • Form TM-U: This form is used specifically for withdrawal scenarios that fall under the criteria mentioned in Section 50 of the Trademark Act. It’s applicable when the withdrawal is based on reasons related to the amendment or cancellation of a registered trademark.

These forms are the official means of communicating the intent to withdraw a trademark and ensuring that the withdrawal adheres to the stipulated legal framework.

Essential Documentation for Trademark Withdrawal Process

To ensure the smooth processing of a Trademark Withdrawal Application, certain key documents are indispensable:

  • Power of Attorney (POA)/Authorization Letter: This is a critical document that grants permission to a designated individual or entity to handle and submit the trademark withdrawal application on your behalf. It’s a formal declaration of your consent for them to act in matters related to withdrawing your trademark.
  • Supporting Documentation: Your trademark withdrawal case may require additional documents. These could include evidence of non-use, documents illustrating the reasons for withdrawal, or any correspondence with the Trademarks Office that pertains to your case.
  • Notification to Opposition Party: When an existing opposition to your trademark prompts the withdrawal, it’s standard practice to inform the opposing party by providing them with a copy of your withdrawal application. This ensures transparency and can facilitate the resolution of any disputes.

Trademark Withdrawal Process in India

Withdrawing a trademark application in India is a procedural journey that necessitates adherence to specific steps:

Step 1: Initiating the Withdrawal

The first step involves the applicant submitting a formal withdrawal request online to the relevant Trademark Registry. This action is essential for applicants choosing to retract their trademark application for any reason voluntarily.

Step 2: Evaluation by the Trademark Authority

The withdrawal request is subjected to a comprehensive review by an appointed trademark official after submission. This evaluation is crucial to ascertain that the withdrawal complies with all pertinent regulations and standards.

Step 3: Decision on Withdrawal

A trademark official has the authority to decide on the withdrawal request. The review’s outcome could either approve or reject the request, which will dictate the subsequent proceedings concerning the trademark application.

Step 4: Official Withdrawal and Record Update

Upon approval of the withdrawal request, a trademark examiner formally sanctions the withdrawal. Subsequently, the Trademark Registry of India updates its records, changing the application’s status to “Trademark Withdrawn.” This alteration marks the official conclusion of the withdrawal process.

Special Circumstances for Withdrawal

There are exceptional scenarios, such as rejecting a trademark application by a Hearing Officer or Trademark Officer, where withdrawal might be invoked. It’s pivotal to recognize that once a trademark application is definitively withdrawn, it is deemed null and void, thereby obviating any potential legal ramifications or consequences from the initial application.

Effects of Trademark Withdrawal

Withdrawing a trademark carries profound consequences for the rights of the trademark holder and the trademark’s availability to others:

  • Loss of Trademark Claims: The withdrawal effectively annuls any legal claims or rights previously held by the trademark holder over the mark. Consequently, the trademark reverts to the public domain, available for registration and use by other parties.
  • Status Update in Trademarks Registry: The trademark application’s withdrawal prompts an immediate modification in the official records. The Indian Trademarks Registry’s digital platform will indicate this change by updating the application status to “withdrawn,” signifying the formal termination of the application process.
  • Restrictions on Trademark Use: Post-withdrawal, the original owner is divested of any rights to use the trademark. Henceforth, they are precluded from legally employing the trademark in commerce or asserting any exclusive rights thereto, as the trademark’s revocation renders it devoid of any protective entitlements.


Withdrawing a trademark in India involves a careful process set by the Trademark Act 1999. When a business decides to withdraw its trademark, it gives up its exclusive rights to it, allowing others to use it. This decision is often made due to changes in the business strategy, legal issues, or a shift in the brand’s focus. The process includes several steps: submitting a request, reviewing it by trademark officials, and officially removing the trademark from the registry. Specific authorities handle it and require certain documents. Businesses must understand every step to ensure the withdrawal goes smoothly and fits their larger business plans.