During the trademark registration process, an objection can be raised by the Trademark Examiner.
What is a Trademark Objection?
The Trade Marks Office can, for various reasons, have objections to your trademark application. This may be because the word or logo is too similar to an existing trademark, because it could hurt religious sentiments or if it is likely to cause confusion, among various other reasons. You must file your response to this objection within a month from when the Examination Report has been published online. If it has been sent to you or your lawyer, then a month from when it was received. If you don't, the Registrar could abandon the application altogether.
Why Respond to a Trademark Objection?
If you respond with clear evidence regarding the distinctiveness of your trademark, the chance that your application will be cleared is high. So there's no reason for your application to be abandoned just because of the objection. The Registrar may only need a clarification.
By the time of the objection, you would have been using the ™ symbol for a few months. Your customers would have likely become accustomed to the brand name. Filing a new application would not make business sense. Instead, you could simply identify the list of reasons your logo, slogan or brand name are different.
In cases wherein the Trade Mark Registrar raises an objection for registration of a trademark, the applicant has an opportunity to submit a written reply for the objection raised. The reply to the Trademark Examination Report should contain reasons, facts and evidences as to why the mark should be registered in favor of the applicant along with supporting evidence, if any. If the Trademark Examiner finds the reply sufficient and addresses all the concerns raised by him/her in the Examination Report, the application would be allowed to be published in the Trademark Journal, before registration.
Important Aspects of Replying to Trademark Objection
It's important that a professional response be drafted as a reply to the objection raised by a Trademark Examiner. An experienced professional can significantly improve chances of successful trademark registration by filing a professional response, addressing all the concers cited in the Trademark Examination report.
Filing a response to the objections raised by a Trademark Examiner in the Trademark Examination report does not guarantee registration of the trademark. Trademark registration is a process and registration is provided only by the Trademark Registrar - based on the facts of each case. Hence, our professionals can only make best efforts for registration based on expertise.
Post filing of a trademark application, it is important to periodically check the status of the trademark application until its processing on the Government side. Trademark registration sometimes requires various time-bound response or action from the applicant. Hence, it's important to continually check the status of the application and take required action until registration.
Trade Mark Journal is an official gazette of the Trade Marks Registry. If the Trademark Examiner determines that the reply to the objection sufficiently addresses all concerns cited in the Trademark Examination report, the trademark is advertised in the Trademark Journal. While the application is advertised, third-parties have an opportunity to oppose the registration of the mark.
As per the Trademark Act, any person can file notice of opposition against a trademark application within a period of four months from the date on which the mark is advertised or re-advertised in the Trademark Journal. After receiving the notice of opposition, the applicant is required to file a counter statement within two months.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE I HAVE MISSED MY TRADEMARK EXAMINATION REPLY DEADLINE?
Your deadline is calculated from actual receipt of the examination report. Hence in case the report, for example was issued on 12 December 2015 but is dispatched and received on 17 March 2016. The deadline to file the objection reply will be 17 April 2016 that is the 1 month from the date of receipt of the report.