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European Union Trade Mark Opposition Procedure

21 July 2017

The European Union trade mark (“EUTM”) opposition procedure is a process that enables third parties to prevent EUTM applications from achieving registration in certain circumstances.

The opposition is commenced by filing a Notice of Opposition at European Union Intellectual Property Office/EUIPO (“Office”).

Who can bring an opposition?

Any natural or legal person may become an Opponent by filing a Notice of Opposition against a EUTM application. Unlike the UK, opposition can only be based on the Opponent’s “Earlier Rights”, namely:

  1. its earlier trade mark application or registration
  2. common law rights protectable by passing off
  3. other earlier intellectual property rights such as copyright

Earlier Rights can prevent registration of a subsequent third party EUTM application which conflicts with those Earlier Rights. A conflict may occur where the mark applied for as a EUTM is identical or similar to the Earlier Rights and where the EUTM covers identical and/or similar goods or services to those protected by the Earlier Rights.

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