Misuse of Trademark Law and Legal Definition

Misuse of trademark is a defense to trademark infringement. Misuse occurs when the trademark owner uses the mark in violation of the law, such as canceling a trademark license on the basis of illegal discrimination. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has never canceled a mark based on trademark misuse. However, cancellation of patents and copyrights have occurred based on misuse, and therefore, a similar precedent can be set in trademark law. The trademark misuse theory is useful where a domain name owner is forced by a trademark owner to litigate or arbitrate a frivolous claim of infringement.