The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) has published the amended Trade Mark Rules. This is the culmination of the consultation process on the modernisation and consolidation of the previous Trade Mark Rules that the UK IPO embarked upon earlier this year. The new Trade Mark Rules 2008 (SI 2008/1797) will come into force on 1st October 2008 and will replace the previous Trade Mark Rules 2000 as amended.

The most significant change to the Trade Mark Rules is a reduction of the opposition period from three months to two months to accelerate unopposed trade mark applications (Rule 17). The recent removal of the relative grounds test has transferred the burden of cost and activity to protect a registered trade mark on to the trade mark owner. The reduction of the opposition period means that trade mark owners not only have more to do but less time in which to do it. Trade mark owners will need to be vigilant and act promptly to protect their marks. Our in-house trade mark and branding practice can provide you with advice on strategy and a watching service to assist you in this regard.

We shall be examining the new rules in general and providing an update on the new trade mark landscape in the next edition of the Intellectual Property E-bulletin but in the meantime please get in touch if you have any queries.

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