There is a definitive trade mark opposition procedure in place within the UK. Firstly, when a trade mark application is accepted, it is posted into the Intellectual Property Office’s online journal. This gives the chance for opposing parties to voice their concerns; however it must be done within a two month period. There are exceptions to this, for example any party who files an electronic form ‘TM7a’ which outlines a ‘notice of threatened opposition’ within the two month period may then have that period extended to three months.
The TM7a form does not commit you to opposing the application, however an applicant shouldn’t proceed using this option unless they are serious about the claim progressing.
If you want to oppose a registration within the standard form, that is the TM7 form, this will mean you have no time extension and the time during which the TM7 must be filed is two months beginning with the date with the date on which the application was published.
It is usually expected that the person opposing the application will contact the applicant explaining the reasons for their opposition. The address is easily found as it will be published in the journal in which their trade mark was advertised. This is way it is possible in refraining from implementing formal opposition proceedings, therefore settling the dispute in a somewhat friendly manner.
If the opponent does not contact the applicant, therefore not giving them a chance to withdraw their application before filing the opposition, no costs will usually then be rewarded to those opponents if they become successful. This provides a major incentive to follow the procedure already in place due to the benefits which can be accrued by the successful party.
Southampton Solent Law Student