What Is a Trademark Opposition? How Does It Work?

What Is a Trademark Opposition? How Does It Work?

There are two main obstacles that you might face during the trademark registration process.  The first is the office action.  But if you do not receive an office action, or overcome any issues raised by one, your application will be published for 30 days.  During this publication period, another party can file an opposition against your application, or ask for an extension to file an opposition later.  The trademark opposition is the second major obstacle that an application might face.  As you probably have guessed, it means that they are challenging your application.

Think of the trademark opposition as a mini-lawsuit.  Instead of a traditional court, the trademark opposition goes through the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).  This Board is part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  And instead of monetary damages, the only thing at stake in these proceedings is whether the Trademark Office will allow the trademark application to become a registration.  But otherwise, the opposition moves forward like a lawsuit in many respects.

After a trademark opposition is filed, the TTAB will assign a proceeding number to it.  They will also notify the parties of the schedule that the proceeding will follow.  While the schedule contains dates and deadlines, the parties are able to amend these by mutual agreement.  The TTAB must approve of such changes, though.  Once the schedule is issued, the applicant has 40 days to file a response.

If you have an application and receive notice that it has been opposed, then it is important to act quickly.  If you do not file your response on time, a default judgment will be entered against you.  This means that your application will go abandoned.  As I said before, the trademark opposition is a lot like a lawsuit.  And one thing it has in common with most lawsuits is that going through it alone is not something you really want to do.  A trademark attorney can help guide you through the process.  But perhaps more importantly, they can advise you up front whether it will be worth the time and cost associated with defending your trademark application.

On the other hand, you may be thinking about filing a trademark opposition.  Is there a trademark application that is similar to your trademark?  Maybe you feel that the examining attorney should have found it to be too similar to your own trademark to register.  In that case, you can file an opposition to help protect your trademark rights.  Allowing similar marks to be registered can reduce the strength of your trademark.

Have You Received Notice That You Are Facing a Trademark Opposition?  Are You Interested In Opposing an Application?

If your application has been opposed, or if you need to file an opposition, one thing you typically do not have is a lot of time.  You may not know what you can expect in terms of time or cost in filing or defending against an opposition.  The trademark opposition process can be very difficult to go through without a background in trademark law.  If you are interested in speaking to a professional trademark attorney about your opposition, please feel free to call me at (314) 479-3668, email me at kevin@yourtrademarkattorney.com, or complete the contact form found on this page to schedule your free initial consultation today.  I look forward to speaking with you.