In October 2013 the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) will introduce a new procedure aimed at reducing the time and cost relating to opposing a pending trade mark application. This is aimed at businesses, in particular at SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises), who feel they have the legal grounds and commercial need to defend their trade mark rights.
These are the main points regarding the new procedures:
- The fast-track procedure will only be available to instances relating to sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the Trade Marks Act 1994. This relates to identical or similar marks in respect of identical or similar goods or services.
- The number of earlier marks that can be relied upon in a fast track opposition has been limited to three.
- The opposition fee will be fixed at £100 for a fast-track opposition. In addition, to prevent businesses from filing a fast-track opposition rather than a standard opposition for financial reasons, the fee for a filing has been reduced to £100 also, with the proviso that if grounds for opposition are unsuitable to a fast-track, then an additional fee of £100 will be paid to bring the total fee in to line with the current scale.
- Where an oral hearing has been requested and granted, the hearings may be conducted via telephone rather than in person.
- A limit will be placed on the amount of evidence that can be used in a fast-track proceeding and the time in which that evidence must be filed. If these conditions are not met, then the opposition will revert to a standard opposition.
- A non-refundable appeal fee of £250 will be introduced, which will be recoverable by the winning party. This is to prevent any frivolous or unmeritorious appeals.
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