Tuesday 9 August 2011

Representation in UK Trademark Oppositions

The clock is ticking at Greenwich rather than the IPO
Two newly published Tribunal Practice Notes from the UK IPO suggest that there may be problems arising due to the reduced numbers of parties taking the opportunity to have professional representation before the tribunals during Oppositions. The first notice TPN 1/2011 concerns editing of specifications where only part of the specification has been opposed; and the second TPN 2/2011 case management and the dreaded extension of time requests.

Dear Trademark Applicant /Opponent:
Yes it is possible to represent your own business. Some business managers even find it fun and challenging. However it is distracting you from your day job and you may be better off seeking out help from one of the many good IP law practitioners out there. If you are confident enough to have a go yourself, then you are clearly competent to negotiate a fixed price deal with a professional. If you must oppose - oppose everything. It can always be cut down later. However a long- winded opposition may not be the best way to deal with a real commercial problem. Spend the time to establish what you want and need and then consult a professional to see if you can achieve it.

Meanwhile are there other solutions the IPO should be looking at. Appointing some legally qualified hearing officers from the junior bar or retired solicitors and using case management more actively to get cases mediated or resolved without evidence. More interlocutory hearings on extensions cannot be the answer as this merely adds to the cost and the acrimony.

And the profession? do we need to go the Quality Solicitors route with Quality Trademark Professionals?

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