The Argentine Congress passed Law No. 27,222 which provides that mediation proceedings do not suspend the one-year term to settle trademark oppositions. The new law amends Mediation Law No. 26,589 and Trademark Law No. 22,362, and will become effective on March 22, 2016.
In Argentina the prosecution of trademark applications is blocked automatically when an opposition is filed, and the applicant has a one-year term –counted as from notification of the opposition– to negotiate the withdrawal of the opposition with the opponent. In the absence of a settlement, the applicant has to file a lawsuit seeking the dismissal of the opposition at court to avoid the lapsing of the application.
Prior to this new law, mediation suspended the one-year term until the proceedings were closed, with or without a settlement. Such provision resulted in a de facto extension of the one-year term set forth in the Trademark Law to reach a friendly settlement with the opponent or take the case to court.
The practical effect of the new law is that the applicant will have to initiate and close the mediation proceeding and file the court action seeking the dismissal of the opposition before the expiration of the one-year term. Otherwise, the objected application will lapse.
Law No. 27,222 does not have any provision regarding the situation of applications that met oppositions which are already undergoing mediation proceedings and regarding which the statutory one-year term has been suspended under the old law. Therefore, the safest course of action for applicants in that situation is to consider that the new rules apply and close such mediation proceedings well before March 22, 2016, and, in absence of a settlement whereby the opposition is withdrawn, file the necessary complaint seeking the dismissal of the opposition.