In late June Rospatent published on its website the Draft Regulation of Trademark Opposition Procedure. Rospatent expects that the opposition procedure could substantially minimize the length of trademark registration.

The Regulation establishes that Rospatent’s competence should be limited to examination of “absolute grounds” for refusals (para. 1-5 art. 1483 of Russian Civil Code). Should Rospatent fail to find any “absolute ground”, it shall publish information that the examination has been successfully completed.

Such publication enables any person or company to file an opposition to Rospatent within three months on any available legal ground. From the moment the opposition is filed the parties (applicant and opponent) are granted six months to settle amicably. If at the end of those six months no agreement has been reached, Rospatent shall examine the opposition and render a final decision.

It stands to mention that Russian legislation already provides for certain elements of the opposition procedure: any person or company may request Rospatent to reject an application after publication of the trademark application in the official bulletin (art. 1493 of Russian Civil Code).

However, since the reform could substantially limit Rospatent’s competence to examination of the “absolute grounds” (apart from the conflicts with other trademarks), the lack of detailed procedural rules could put a strain on Chamber of Patent Disputes and IP Court urged to consider an increased number of claims and oppositions. Nevertheless, European Union’s practice demonstrates that the opposition procedure may become an effective ways of upgrading the procedure of trademarks registration.