After the examiner reviews the applied trademark and allows it by accepting the mark and publishes it in the Trademark journal. Then the trademark is open for opposition from third parties for the mandatory period of four months from the date of publishing. In case there is no opposition arose from any third party within the stipulated period of time, then the mark will proceed for its registration.
Who can oppose Trademark Application in India?
Any person may oppose a Trademark. This person does not have to be necessarily a registered proprietor, he could be anyone like purchaser, customer, or a member of the public likely to use the goods. The rationale behind this is that the opponent is not only representing himself but the public at large because having two similar marks will only cause confusion in the minds of the public.
What is the period within which a Notice of Opposition could be filed?
The Notice of Opposition has to be filed within 4 months from the date of its publication in the Trademark journal, and the period is not expandable in any circumstances.
What are the stages involved in Trademark Opposition?
- Stage 1- Filing a Notice of Opposition/ Filing a Counter Statement: Any person who is willing to oppose a mark can do so within four months from the date of advertisement or publication in journal. It could be done by filing a prescribed form along with the prescribed fees. It is first sent to the registry for its review, and if the registry finds everything okay then it will serve it to the applicant party. A counter-statement or reply of opposition has to be filed by the Applicant within two months from the date of receiving notice of opposition. It is to be noted that time will not be extended in any circumstances, and if the counter statement is not filed within the stipulated time, then the mark shall be deemed to be abandoned. The counter statement is first sent to the registry, and if all formalities are met then it is served to the opponent from the registry.
- Stage 2- Filing of Evidence in Support of Opposition: Within Two months (extendable by one month) upon receiving the counter statement, the opponent has a choice of filing of evidence in support of his opposition in form of an affidavit to strengthen the case by filing of evidence in support of rule 45. The opponent can choose to reply to the facts mentioned in notice of opposition. Whatever the opponent chooses, he has to inform the officials and the other party within the prescribed period of time otherwise the opposition will be tagged as abandoned.
- Stage 3- Filing of Evidence in Support of Counter-Statement: Within two months of receiving evidence/ intimation of waiver by the opponent. The Applicant has to file his evidence in support of its application by filing under rule 46. Applicants also have an option to waive its right over filing of evidence.
- Stage 4- Filing of Evidence in Reply: Within one month of receiving the evidence/ waiver, the opponent again has the option to file additional evidence (if any) in support of his opposition. The option is given to achieve some sort of finality in the proceedings, to rebut the evidence produced by Applicant.
- Stage 5- Hearing: Within three months of completing all the formality or filing of an evidence, hearing will be conducted from the trademark registry, and both the parties would get notified about the same. After hearing of the parties and considering the evidence, the registry will decide upon its mark whether the mark is accepted or not.
If either of the parties is not satisfied with the decision of the Trademark registry, then within 30 days of the finality of decision could appeal in Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).