A trademark opposition is a process where one or more parties can oppose the registration of a trademark on which an application for registration has been filed. The objecting party may be another person who believes that he will be damaged if the trademark is registered, i.e., if someone else gets the right to use the name under which his business was previously operating.
Trademark opposition in India allows anyone who thinks that their rights are going to be affected to oppose an applicant's attempt to register a mark in India before it becomes official, whereas infringement only allows them to do so after their rights have been violated. The opposition period lasts for 30 days from the date of publication in the Trade Marks Journal, during which any member of the public can file an objection.
The following stages are involved in the Trademark Opposition procedure:
Notice of Opposition:
Once the Trademark is advertised in the Journal, Any person who wishes to oppose the mark can file a notice of opposition on a trademark within 4 months from the date of advertisement.
After receiving the notice of opposition, the applicant has to file a counter statement within 2 months of the receipt of the notice of opposition. If the Counter-Statement is not filed within 2 months, the Application shall be deemed to be abandoned by the trademark owner.
Evidence in Support of Opposition:
Once the Applicant files the counter-statement, the opponent has to file the evidence in the form of an affidavit within 2 months (extendable by one month) of the receipt of the counter-statement. The Opponent can also write to the Registrar stating that he does not wish to file evidence but wishes to rely on the facts stated in the Notice of Opposition.
Evidence in Support of Application:
Upon receiving the receipt of the evidence of the Opponent, the Applicant is granted a period of 2 months (extendable by 1 month) for filing Evidence in Support of Application, if any.
After considering the facts, circumstances, notice of opposition, counter-statement, and evidence filed, the Registrar may call the parties for a hearing, and the application is decided on merits.
Registration or Rejection:
If the registrar decides in favor of the applicant, the trademark will be registered, and a registration certificate will be issued. If the registrar decides in favor of the opponent, it will be rejected.