All Questions in Expired Trademarks >> Defunct companies and property rights

Defunct companies and property rights

Posted by . updated on 11/11/2009
Hello!  I have a question concerning now dead companies, their trademarks, product lines and copy rights.

In the case of today's gaming market, small time game companies and publishers come and go.  

What if one of these companies has been dead for about 10 years now, a search of the trademark database doesn't even bring up a dead trademark and any forms of contact result in dead internet links and e-mail bounces.  

How would one step in and claim abandonment and assume the company name?  If a person can just take up an abandoned trademark and company, what comes along with that?  Would that person now also own the rights to the defunct companies gaming product line?  What about copyrights?

Thanks a lot for your tips and advice!
Answers (2)
 
WIMR_INFO
Hey There Doug,

Need a bit more information but basically, once abandonded, unless they are using it in commerce for a period of time, you should be able to either revive it or use it and regsiter it with an intent to use it.
Differing countries (and indeed differing states) have laws about using company names that have ceased to exist. You need someone local (in this case an accountant) who could advise you on obtaining the company names.
Happy to steer you in the right direction if required.
Regards,
 
 
JSonnabend
Quote
once abandonded, unless they are using it in commerce for a period of time, you should be able to either revive it or use it and regsiter it with an intent to use it.

I tried, honestly I did, but I can't make heads or tails of this advice.  What does "unless they are using it in commerce for a period of time" mean?

The long and the short of it is this.  If the mark has been abandoned (not merely the registration of the mark), then it should be free to use.  There is some discussion -- a bit academic at points -- about "residual goodwill", but that concept can be ignored at this level of discussion.

Quote
Differing countries (and indeed differing states) have laws about using company names that have ceased to exist. You need someone local (in this case an accountant) who could advise you on obtaining the company names.


Again, not sure what WIMR_INFO is driving at, but (a) you don't need an accountant (although many handle business entity formation) and (b) most states that I've dealt with will allow remarkably close names to co-exist -- the standard is quite different from trademark use and registration.

- Jeff
 

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