Trademark Opposition in India

Trademark Opposition is the key-tool available to the one who may gets aggrieved by the registration of the trademark applied by the other person. The person who is having any reason may/can oppose the registration of a trademark. Generally, any person who is having the trademark will oppose the registration of the trademark which is quite similar or identical to their mark. As per the trademarks act the person interested in registering the trademark will apply in the registry by way of application and the trademark registry will examine the trademark in light of other registered or on record trademarks and if they found any resemblance, they may object it by issuing examination report.

Further if the application is accepted and it will be published in the trademark journal and will be open for third parties for 4 months for initiating the oppositions from the interested parties. Trademark opposition is a chance to stop registration of any mark, in case the registry failed to look and compare the similar trademarks existing on record or in market, the interest party by themselves can oppose the application, which stands as a second cover/protection to protect the registered proprietor’s interest and the same time to prevent the fraudulent/malafide party who is trying to ride on the reputation or the good will gained by a reputed brand.

Hence in such time the interested party may oppose the registration of a trademark by way of filing the notice of opposition within the 4 months from the date of publishing in the TM journal.

Filing of Notice of opposition is the first step towards the Opposition proceedings.

2nd step: Once the opposition has been filed the applicant has to give their counter statement in support of their application within 2 months from the date of dispatch of the opposition.

3rd Step: Once the counter statement has been filed by the applicant and the same has been notified to the opponent, the opponent has to file and send the evidence affidavit in support of the opposition or the letter of reliance (Which means that the applicant doesn’t wish to file the evidence at this stage instead of it they rely on the statement made by them in Notice of opposition) The time period to file the evidence under Rule 45 is 2 months from the date of dispatch of the counter statement.

4th Step: After filing the evidence by the opponent, the applicant has to file and send the evidence affidavit in support of their application/relying letter within 2 months from the date of receiving the evidence in support of opposition (Rule 46).

5th Step: Once the opponent has received the evidence in support of the application by the applicant they may submit their reply to it either in the form of Evidence under Rule 47 or they may request the registry to move the opposition for the opposition hearing and copy of the same has to be sent to the applicant.

In the above process till the counter statement dispatch, the registry will communicate between the parties i.e the sending of the notice of opposition and the counter statement to the parties will be taken care by the registry and from the evidence part, sending the copies of the evidences will be the duties of the parties involved.

Once all the process has been gone well as detailed above, the opposition will be posted for the opposition hearing in which the parties have to put forth their contentions before the Registrar of Trademarks and the registrar will decide on the matter whether to allow the application by dismissing the opposition or vice versa.

In case any default made by the applicant or opponent, the application deemed to be abandoned i.e failed to file the counter statement or their evidence within the prescribed time, even the default on the side of the opponent leads to abandon the opposition and the application will be allowed for registration. However such abandonment will be ordered by the registry, only after conducting a hearing for both the parties.