The Intellectual Property Office has announced on Friday proposals for a fast track opposition procedure in the UK.

The fast track would apparently seek to improve access to opposition proceedings by reducing the cost and complexity and increasing the speed at which businesses can protect their trade mark rights.

The primary proposals are as follows:

  • Lower opposition fees
  • Grounds limited to section 5(1) and 5(2) actions
  • A maximum of two earlier marks
  • Proof of use required up front with the Notice of Opposition for earlier marks over   5 years old
  • Leave required for either party to file further evidence
  • Decisions normally from the papers
  • An increased but refundable opposition fee to discourage frivolous appeals

According to Allan James, Head of the Trade Mark Tribunalat the UK IPO, who was speaking at the annual ITMA Spring Conference event, the planned implementation date, if it goes ahead, is 1 Oct 2013. The consultation that has been released on Friday closes on 17 May.