Following its launch on 1 October 2013, the UK Intellectual Property Office has now issued its first decision using the new Fast Track opposition procedure.
The new process aims to allow trade mark owners to enforce their rights at an affordable cost, and more quickly than the conventional procedure.
The first decision concerns a dispute between two individuals,Syed Naseer (the applicant) and Ahmed El-Zalabany (the opponent).
Naseer applied for the trade mark E-VAP in class 34 for “Electronic Cigarettes or Vapour Cigarettes”. El-Zalabany opposed the mark, based on hiss earlier registered UK trade mark E-Vape, also protected in class 34 for “smokers’ articles, electronic smokers’ articles”. The earlier mark was not old enough to be subject to proof of use, so the fast track was the appropriate forum.
The Hearing Officer concluded (O/106/14) that the marks were similar and that there would be direct confusion on the part of consumers.
The decision issued within 6 months, demonstrating that the process can be significantly quicker than the standard opposition procedure.