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Trademark Opposition

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The Registrar accepts your application, and your trademark then appears in the trademark journal. It stays there for four months and is exposed to outside inspection. During this advertisement period, you will receive a notice of trademark opposition if that party believes your trademark violates any trademark rights. The trademark registration will be denied if a trademark opposition is successful. If the application for trademark opposition is dismissed, the brand will be registered.

What is trademark opposition?

Any objection to a trademark registration made by a third party and submitted within four months of the trademark’s advertisement is referred to as trademark opposition. Regardless of whether they have a business or personal interest in the subject, any person may oppose a trademark, according to Section 21 of the Trademark Act. 

Individuals, businesses, partnerships, and trusts are all included in this. It’s important to note that the individual filing the opposition need not have a prior trademark registration with the Registry or any commercial stake in the issue.

Grounds for trademark opposition

A trademark opposition can be brought forth for various reasons, including absolute grounds, relative grounds, a prohibited mark, or even the owner of the opposed trademark. There are no specific grounds for opposition specified in the Indian trademark law. The following list includes a few of the grounds for opposition to a trademark opposition:

  • Copied Trademarks: A trademark without distinguishing features or characteristics from a registered trademark.
  • Similarity: This is the most frequent reason for trademark opposition. Your trademark is a replica of an existing brand in this instance.
  • Genericness: You shouldn’t use generic terms in the brand name you select.
  • Descriptive Trademarks: In India, a trademark can face opposition if it vehemently describes the nature, intent, or calibre of the product.
  • Misleading Trademarks: These share specific characteristics with an already-existing brand and are therefore thought to have the potential to mislead or confuse the public. It is possible to oppose such misleading trademarks.
  • Prohibited Trademarks: The Emblem and Names Act of 1950 forbids using brand names or distinguishing features. These are classified as banned trademarks.
  • Common trademarks: Everyday terms that are used to identify products and services. An outside party may object to such marks.
  • Offensive Brand Names: Some brand names may be challenged because they are awful because they contain trademarks that can offend a particular community.
  • Fraud and bad faith: If a third party believes your application for trademark registration was made in bad faith, it won’t hesitate to file an opposition notice.

Trademark opposition procedure

The series of events that take place during the process of opposing your brand name is as follows:

Step 1: Notice of Opposition 

The trademark opponent first submits a notice of opposition to the Trademark Registrar. By providing information in Form TM-O and paying fees, anyone may file for trademark opposition within four months of the registration application being advertised in the trademark journal.

Step 2: Filing of a counterstatement

You, as the applicant for the trademark, have two months from the time you receive the notice to file a counterstatement. They will only pursue your application if you are successful. The Registrar will deliver a copy to the opposing party within two months of receiving the counterstatement.

Step 3: Adding evidence (Opponent)

When you make a counterargument, your opponent will present the proof he has to support his claim. To complete this task, he has two months. The Registrar may give him an extra month to file the evidence if he cannot do so within this time frame.

Step 4: submitting the evidence (The applicant)

You must submit evidence to back up your trademark claim within two months of receiving the opponent’s evidence. The Registrar will give you another month to complete your task if you cannot do so in that time frame. You risk having your trademark application abandoned if you don’t.

Step 5: Analysis and hearing

The written arguments that both parties submitted to the proceeding will be taken into consideration by the Registrar. The trademark registrar will hold a hearing after receiving bits and pieces of evidence from each side. It then decides after giving thought to and hearing both parties’ arguments. The parties’ provided addresses will receive written notice from the Registrar of their decision.

Documents required to file a trademark opposition

  • The complete application information includes the applicant’s full name, address, nationality, qualifications, etc. Corporations or others must deliver a registration certificate for those who fall under the body category.
  • A Power of Attorney, which authorizes the attorney to submit the opposition on your behalf
  • An affidavit containing the essential information about the trademark, user data, and usage proof
  • Detailed information about the mark that the trademark opposition is being filed in opposition, along with the fundamental grounds for the opposition.

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