Its back to school for UK trade mark agents to get to grips with the new Rules we will have to work to from 1 October 2008. As discussed earlier in this blog the UK IPO consulted about these housekeeping matters so there are no real surprises. The SOLO approved (we had two comments so that was a big vote of confidence) shortening of the opposition period comes in at two months- extendible for another month. A nice compromise making the fast track that little bit faster.
Non-use actions that succeed because the trade mark owner has moved away from his noted address become that bit more difficult as there is a new Rule 43 that allows decisions to be set aside if the proprietor did not recieve the documents. Lots of discretion and the registrar has to be reasonably satisfied that the form did not arrive not just that it was binned. The rule applies to abandoned applications and oppositions as well.
Of course all our carefully learned numbers change as well. Extensions of time are now Rule 77 and are tinkered with once again. Late extension requests are now limited to two months. This, they say, is to comply with the Singapore Trademark Law Treaty. The "discretionary" standards for extension now only apply to the time limits set out in Schedule 1. These now include the opposition period. Fighting about extensions for evidence now seems to be futile as the rigistrar can do what he likes whatever the other party says, though they do still get a copy. Lets hope the registrar wants to keep proceedings moving otherwise we could be back to evidence at the convenience of the filing party.
We can forget having to file priority documents too. See new Rule 6. This brings the UK into line with OHIM. Sadly the transitional provision means that we still have to file a priority document for cases filed before 1 October 2008.
Perhaps the Registry will be planning workshops to introduce the rule changes. I think it would be nice to have a SOLO one