Trade mark opposition
When submitting a trade mark application, not only do you need approval from the UK Intellectual Property Office, you need to bear in mind the views of previous mark owners.
If a mark is accepted by the UK IPO, it is published in their online journal to allow any trade mark owners of existing marks to lodge any oppositions if they seem fit.
A trade mark owner will lodge an opposition if they feel the mark submitted in the application should not be registered as it will impede their own mark in some way.
If this opposition is successful, it will prevent the application from being registered.
An opposition can be submitted if the trade mark owner feels it effects their mark in relation to the absolute or relative grounds.
Absolute grounds are in relation to the mark itself. If a mark is deemed descriptive or generic, it can be opposed.
Relative grounds are in relation to previously registered marks, and whether the new mark will potentially infringe any already established marks.
Anyone can submit an opposition in relation to absolute grounds but only owners of marks that are going to be affected can submit an opposition for relative grounds.
You have a period of two months to submit an opposition after it is published in the UK IPO journal.
For more information in relation to trade mark oppositions, get in touch with The Trademarkroom.
By Ellis Sweetenham