New fast-track trademark opposition procedure

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched a new ‘fast-track’ trademark opposition procedure. The new procedure came into effect on 1 October 2013. The intention is that the new procedure will lower the cost, complexity and duration of opposition proceedings for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Opposition rates have remained low, certainly when compared with the European Union trademark office (OHIM), even though the UK IPO notifies registered trademark proprietors of potentially conflicting applications. The UK IPO is concerned that potential SMEs are deterred by the cost and administrative inconvenience of proceeding with an opposition.

It has also pointed out that, in practice, many oppositions are essentially assessments of similarity between marks and goods and/or services, making a paper-based opposition procedure feasible in practice…

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