Can I use a dead or cancelled trademark?

Trademarks that are listed as cancelled on the Trademark Office’s database are not always free for use. Trademark rights exist in three forms in the United States: common law trademarks, state registered trademarks, and Federally registered trademarks. A trademark owner may allow a registration to expire because they are not using it, by accident, or because they have other registrations that cover the same material. It is important to consult with a trademark attorney before you adopt an expired trademark, as opposed to after you receive a cease and desist letter from the expired trademark owner’s trademark attorney. The trademark owner may still have common law rights in the trademark or they may have alternate registrations that still arguably cover trademark owner’s rights.