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An opposition to trademark registration may become available in Russia

In late June Rospatent has posted on its official website the Draft Regulation of Trademark Opposition Procedure (hereinafter – Regulation). Rospatent expects that the opposition procedure could substantially minimize the terms of trademark registration.

The Regulation establishes that Rospatent’s competence should be limited to examination of only “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 3 months on any available legal ground. Since then the parties (applicant and opponent) are granted 6 months to settle amicably and revoke an opposition. Otherwise, Rospatent shall examine an opposition and render a final decision.

It stands to mention that Russian legislation 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).

Although such novelties are of utmost significance, the Regulation does not specify whether Rospatent will publish information on trademarks examination in official bulletin or other specific register.

It is also unclear whether the opposition procedure will be mandatory for any person or company seeking to annul a trademark post factum after the official registration (art. 1512-1513 of Russian Civil Code), what exact procedural and appeal aspects will apply to the opposition procedure, etc.

Since the reform could substantially limit Rospatent’s competence to examination of the “absolute grounds” (apart from the conflicts with other trademarks), an absence of the detailed procedure 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.

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