How to file an opposition request against a trademark application

Borsam IP
Borsam IP

A trademark opposition is to challenge the right of a particular trademark by filing a request to the trademark office. This procedure almost exists in all jurisdictions which have a trademark system. The subtle difference in each jurisdiction is to oppose before or after the formal examination by the trademark office. In China, the opposition window is opened for public after the substantial examination on the trademark application. If no one applied during the opposition period, the trademark certificate would be issued to the applicant.
Is there a time limit to file a trademark opposition?
Yes, according to the Chinese Trademark Law, any interested party or prior right holder, or anyone who thinks the trademark opposition violates the Article 10 to 12, may file an opposition within three months from the publication date of the Trademark Gazette which the trademark is. But for the extension application of a Madrid international application designating China, the deadline for filing the opposition is within three months after the first day of the following month since WIPO organizes the publication of the International Trademark Announcement. For example, for national trademark applications, if it was announced for publication on the Trademark Gazette on August 6, 2020, the deadline for filing the opposition would be November 6, 2020. For an international trademark application, if it was announced for publication on August 10, 2020, the deadline for filing the opposition would be December 31, 2020.
Who can file the trademark opposition?
Except for the absolute grounds without limitation of the qualification of an opponent, the Trademark Law Article 33 indicates the qualification of an opponent, i.e. any interested party or prior right holder. That means, if you have any prior rights before the filing date of this trademark, you may raise the opposition. For example, the copyrights, patent rights, trade name, right of name, portraiture right and other legitimate rights. Of course, if the applicant has any business with you, or you have used the trademark in China for a while before the filing date, it may also ground to file the opposition. Regarding such grounds of opposition, we suggest you asking the legal opinion of a lawyer or attorney, because it requests for evidence to support, so it might be a little difficult to prepare by yourself.
What is required for filing the opposition?
Firstly, similar to the new trademark application, if you’re a Chinese citizen, you may file the opposition to CNIPA by yourself. But if not, you have to file it by a Chinese agency.
Secondly, the documents for filing the opposition are not difficult, and you may file the following documents first to catch the deadline, and filing further statement within three months after filing.

  • Power of attorney signed by the opponent;
  • Identification document of the opponent;
  • Request form for the trademark opposition, the attorney will help you to file in the form;
  • Primary evidence to prove the qualification of the trademark opposition, e.g., trademark certificate, copyright registration certificate or another documentation corresponding to your grounds for the opposition.

How long will the decision be issued?
After filing the opposition, the opponent may have three months to file further statement. And then, CNIPA will forward a copy of the opposition to the trademark applicant. No matter the trademark applicant responses the opposition or not, the decision would be issued in around nine months after filing the opposition. 
Even if CNIPA support the opponent in the opposition, it still not the end of the story. Because the law allows the trademark applicant a remedy, to file an appeal for trademark review within 15 days after receiving the opposition decision. Everything has come to a close only when the 15 days passed.
What is the remedy for an opponent if I lost in the opposition?
All are equal before the law, if the opponent lost in the opposition, he may file an invalidation against the trademark after the registration. For the invalidation request, you may click here to see the brief introduction of it.
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