Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Swifter UK trade mark applications

When the then newly-renamed (though it still hasn't really been renames) UK Intellectual Property Office responded to the Gowers Review's recommendation about speeding up trade mark applications by allowing applicants to pay a premium and have their applications examined in 10 days, many practitioners failed to see the point. All that would do was get you to the fixed three-month opposition period a little sooner than would otherwise be the case.

Now the Trade Marks Rules 2008 (see also the guidance notes from the IPO, which appear to have been written by someone who doesn't understand about sentences) have addressed that point. The opposition period will be reduced to two months from 1 October (for applications filed after that date, presumably) so the process of applying for a trade mark will become significantly faster, and paying the premium for quick examination makes more sense. The IPO reckons that 90 per cent of applications are unopposed anyway, and even for those that are three months is an long time: but just in case, a would-be opponent will be able to request an extra month, free of charge, if it can't make up its mind whether to oppose or not. This should also give the UK IPO an edge when competing for business with OHIM.

There are other changes too, but having taken a month from when the Rules were laid before Parliament to report this much I think I had better deal with the rest later.

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