Today I encountered in a contract the following use of revoke:
The Vendor may revoke this license at any time upon notice to the Company.
For purposes of a license granted by contract, I recommend using instead terminate.
Here’s the relevant part of the Black’s Law Dictionary definition of revocation:
1. An annulment, cancellation, or reversal, usu. of an act or power. 2. Contracts. Withdrawal of an offer by the offeror.
I can imagine referring to, say, a driver’s license being revoked. But with respect to a license granted by contract, revoke conveys the same meaning as terminate. Given that terminate is the word to use for ending a contract, economy would suggest using that word with respect to licenses, too. In contract drafting, “elegant variation”—switching words for the sake of variety—is a poor idea.
A quick search of EDGAR shows that uses of terminate with respect to licenses vastly outnumber uses of revoke. That’s just as well.