IP 2.10 DURATION OF TRADEMARKS
By Section 23, protection is granted for an initial seven years term then subsequent renewal term of fourteen years. As such, trade mark is perpetual subject to renewal. Renewal is necessary to remove obsolete trademarks from the register.
Where an applicant fails to renew, he shall be notified by the registrar of the intention to remove the mark from the register.
Within one year after removal, the mark shall still be considered as an existing mark when considering trademark applications. Except it can be proved that:
- The TM has been disused for a period of up to 2 years preceding the removal.
- There shall be no likely confusion that would arise.
Section 31 provides for removal of tm from register upon the application of a concerned person on the following grounds.
- No intention nor use of the mark for up to one month before the application for the removal. OR
- Up to one month before the date of petition for removal, a continuous period of 5 years or more has elapsed during which there was no bona fide use of the registered mark.
In John Batt V Dunnet, the mark was expunged for non-use for 14 years.
In Procter and Gamble V Global Soap, Flash detergent was expunged from the register for non-use for more than 20 years.
However, the proprietor shall be heard and where the non-use is due to forces beyond his control, the mark may not be expunged. In Manus V Fullwood and Bland, non-use of trademarked milking machine was due to a legal inhibition (an import prohibition order which prohibited the export of the machine).