What Is An Opposition?

An opposition is a challenge to the grant of a trademark registration at the trademark office level. Most jurisdictions have adopted opposition proceedings as an effective way to resolve trademark rights disputes and keep the register accurate.

Depending on the jurisdiction, a party with standing can file an opposition either before or after mark is registered. The public is made aware of a recent filing by publication of the trademark application, which usually opens a certain time period for third parties to file an opposition.

An opposition most commonly is filed when a party believes that an applied-for mark is unregistrable. Among the many grounds for opposition, common ones are that the applied-for mark is likely to cause confusion with an existing mark or that it is descriptive, generic, or deceptive.

Procedural rules allowing both parties to submit arguments and evidence usually govern opposition proceedings; a designated board or tribunal that is part of the trademark office generally issues the decision. Many jurisdictions allow for appeals of opposition decisions to a higher tribunal or court.

Our Position

We affirm the importance of establishing opposition proceedings. We strongly recommend that governments in jurisdictions that do not yet provide for opposition proceedings enact the legislation required to create and establish them, for the benefit of rights owners and the public, and the accuracy of the trademark register.

If you want to learn more about Oppositions, contact Member Operations.