You search the trademark database at the USPTO and find that your competitor’s trademark registration was canceled because the competitor did not file renewal documents and fees. You jump at the chance to grab their trademark by filing your own trademark application on their mark. Did you succeed in grabbing up rights in their trademark? Not necessarily.
Common law trademark rights can be obtained by use of the trademark in business/commerce alone without a federal registration. Therefore lapse of a trademark registration does not automatically result in a loss of all trademark rights.
This principle is demonstrated in the case of Crash Dummy Movie, LLC v. Mattel, Inc., 601 F.3d 1387 (Fed. Cir. 2010).
Crash Dummies Fight
Mattel owned a trademark registration on CRASH DUMMIES for toys. Mattel …