In India, the process of trademark registration follows a set of rules and procedures as laid down by the Trademarks Act, 1999 and the Trademarks Rules, 2002. The opposition procedure for trademark registration in India is a legal process whereby any person or entity can oppose the registration of a trademark that is being sought by another person or entity. This process is initiated by filing an opposition before the registry of trademark in India.
Grounds of Opposition
The grounds for opposition of a trademark registration in India are specified under Section 21 of the Trademarks Act, 1999. These grounds are:
1.The trademark applied for is identical or similar to an existing trademark that is already registered or pending registration.
2.The trademark applied for is likely to deceive or cause confusion among the public.
3.The trademark applied for is a mark that is well-known in India, and its registration would be detrimental to the interests of the owner of the well-known trademark.
4.The trademark applied for is descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of the nature, quality, characteristics, or intended use of the goods or services for which it is sought to be registered.
5.The trademark applied for is offensive or scandalous in nature.
6.The trademark applied for is a mark that is prohibited under the provisions of the Trademarks Act, 1999.
Procedure of Opposition: Written Submissions
Any person or entity who intends to oppose the registration of a trademark must file a notice of opposition before the Trademark Office within four months from the date of the advertisement of the trademark in the Trademarks Journal. The notice of opposition must be in the prescribed form and must be accompanied by a copy of the trademark application and the grounds for opposition. The notice of opposition must also be accompanied by a fee of INR 500.
Once the notice of opposition has been filed, the trademark registry will send a copy of the notice to the applicant and will also publish the notice in the Trademarks Journal. The applicant then has a period of two months to file a counter-statement, which must contain a detailed explanation of the grounds on which the trademark is being sought to be registered.
If the applicant fails to file a counter-statement within the prescribed time, the opposition will be deemed to be admitted, and the trademark registry will proceed to decide the opposition on the basis of the grounds and evidence presented by the opponent. If the applicant files a counter-statement, the opposition will be decided based on the evidence and arguments presented by both parties.
Procedure of Opposition: Hearing
The trademark registry may appoint a hearing officer to conduct the hearing and to decide the opposition. The hearing officer will consider the evidence and arguments presented by both parties and will make a decision based on the merits of the case. The decision of the hearing officer is final and binding on both parties, unless an appeal is filed before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).
An appeal against the decision of the hearing officer can be filed before the IPAB within three months from the date of the decision. The IPAB is a quasi-judicial body that is empowered to hear and decide appeals against the decisions of the trademark registry and the hearing officer. The IPAB will consider the evidence and arguments presented by both parties and will make a decision based on the merits of the case. The decision of the IPAB is final and binding on both parties, unless a further appeal is filed before the High Court or the Supreme Court.
In conclusion, the opposition procedure for trademark registration in India is a legal process that allows any person or entity to challenge the registration of a trademark that has been applied for or granted. It begins with the filing of a notice of opposition and ends with a final decision by the High Court. The opposition procedure is an important safeguard that ensures that only worthy trademarks are registered and protected in India.
Author: Ved Prakash, Legal Intern at PA Legal.
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