Intellectual Property

Process of Trademark Opposition in India

What is Trademark Opposition

Trademark opposition is a process for challenging an application for trademark registration. A trademark application is filed with the Registrar of Trade Marks and oppositions may be filed by any person who believes that they have a prior right to the mark or that the proposed registration may cause confusion, deception or damage to their business. The opposition period will usually last for three months from the date of publication of the notice in which the particulars about the pending application are advertised. Once this period has expired, there will be a final decision on whether or not to allow the registration of that particular mark.

When can you file Trademark Opposition?

You can file Trademark Opposition as soon as you find out that someone is trying to register a trademark similar to yours. You should file it before the registration date and within 3 months from the date you became aware of the trademark application.
A trademark opposition proceeding starts with your filing a notice of opposition, which includes an opposition fee, with the Indian Patent Office. If your opponent wants to contest the opposition, he or she will have to pay another fee and submit a reply. The Trademark Registrar then examines both sides’ arguments and decides if there are grounds for the opposition or not.

What is the process involved?

Opposition is the process of formally objecting to an application for trademark registration. In order to oppose a trademark, the applicant must submit a formal notice to the Indian Patent Office within three months from the date on which he or she came aware about the application for trademark registration. A person may also oppose an existing trademark by submitting a formal notice with relevant grounds within five years from the date on which he or she became aware about it. The Indian Patent Office will then publish a notice inviting objections and counter-objections. If any party feels that they have sufficient cause to oppose the application, they can file objections and counter-objections with the Registrar of Trade Marks during this period before opposition ends.

What happens after filing an Opposition?

Once a trademark opposition has been filed, the Registrar sends notice to the applicant and to any other person who may be affected by the opposition. The applicant then has six months to respond with evidence that it is entitled to registration. If there is no response, or if the Registrar finds that the evidence is insufficient, then registration will not be granted. If they are satisfied that the applicant should proceed with their application for trademark registration, then they will grant it.

Fighting the battle

Opposition is a process under the Trade Marks Act, 1999 which enables the applicant's competitors to oppose registration of a trade mark on various grounds. The grounds for oppositions are limited and defined by law. In order to oppose registration, one needs to file an opposition within three months from the date of publication of the trademark application in Trade Marks Journal. Failure to file an opposition within this timeframe will mean that one cannot oppose registration later. The opposing party has to provide evidence of what they claim is the first use or prior right that the applicant does not have. If found persuasive by the Registrar, it could lead to refusal of registration or invalidation of already registered trade mark.

Concluding thoughts on Trademark Opposition

In summary, trademark opposition is an important part of the registration process. It's a way for the trademark holder to have their say and prevent someone from registering a trademark that may pose a threat or confuse consumers. If you are considering filing an opposition, contact your attorney to discuss your options and get some advice on how best to proceed.

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