The forfeiture of a trademark means that the holder loses the right previously held over it.
There are different types of forfeiture:
Forfeiture based on degeneration of the trademark is provided for under Article L.714-6 of the Intellectual Property Code. The forfeiture relates to a trademark which, because of its holder, has become the common and usual commercial designation of a product or service. In effect, the more a trademark becomes known on the market, the greater the risk that its use will degenerate. As soon as the trademark becomes an everyday term used to generically designate the products or services for which it was registered, it loses its distinctive character and is no longer necessarily able to fulfil its function of indicating the commercial origin of the products or services in question. In these circumstances, the trademark holder is considered to have allowed the trademark to ‘degenerate’ if he cannot proportionately or sufficiently show that he sought to prevent the harm done to it.
Forfeiture based on lack of use is provided for under Article L.714-5 of the Intellectual Property Code. It relates to a trademark which, without just cause, has not been used by its holder in a serious way within a period of five years preceding the forfeiture request. The trademark holder must be able to justify the use of the trademark for each of the products or services to be designated, as per its registration.