Trademark Opposition & Analysis
Trademark opposition refers to the situation where any party unsatisfied with the preliminarily approved mark, can file an opposition against it with China Trademark Office (CTMO) within 3 months as of the publication. This is a procedure open for public opinions on the published mark, as stipulated by China Trademark Law and the Implementing Rules. The purpose is to guarantee the justice and transparency of approving a mark and improve the quality of trademark registration examination.
Grounds of opposition include:
- The preliminarily approved mark is identical or similar with prior marks;
- The preliminarily approved mark violates the articles of absolute refusal of China Trademark Law or the mark is lack of distinctiveness;
- The applicant is not qualified to file for a mark and so on.
Mainly the grounds of filing an opposition can be divided to:
- Identical/similar with prior marks;
- Violating articles of absolute refusal.
Purpose of Trademark Opposition
- To protect the interest of prior registrant;
- To protect the right of a trademark applicant who filed a prior application;
- To avoid obtaining of inappropriate trademark right.
Reply to Opposition
Within 3 months of publication period when a mark is preliminarily approved, other party could file opposition against it. The applied mark would be called the opposed mark. When this mark is published for registration, such publication will be deemed as invalid. (Note: In order to timely publish Trademark Gazette, registration publication will be edited and prepared before the due date of opposition period. When the opposition is filed in last days of publication period, even in the very last day, and also taking the mail time into consideration, the applied mark would be timely published for registration before CTMO receives the opposition application. This explains why the mark is opposed and at the same time “published for registration”). Whether the applicant can obtain registration of the opppsed mark will depend on CTMO’s opposition decision.
After accepting the opposition application, CTMO will timely transfer the duplicate copy of the opposition form as well as the grounds and evidence to the opposed party. The opposed party has 30 days to reply to opposition after receiving the materials. If no reply is filed in due time, the right to reply to opposition is deemed as abandoned and the opposition procedure will proceed as normal.
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