Answer ... A notice of opposition may be filed:
- on the basis of one or more earlier rights, provided that they all belong to the same proprietor; and
- on the basis of some or all of the goods or services in respect of which the earlier right is protected or applied for.
Opposition proceedings may be directed against some or all of the goods or services in respect of which the contested mark is applied for.
Answer ... In principle, the following have standing to oppose a trademark application:
- the proprietor of an earlier trademark (a Malta registered trademark, an EU registered trademark or a trademark registered under international arrangements which have effect in Malta); and
- any person authorised under the relevant law to exercise the rights arising from a protected designation of origin or geographical indication.
Where an earlier mark has more than one proprietor or where an earlier right may be exercised by more than one person, an opposition may be filed by any or all of the proprietors or authorised persons.
Answer ... A notice of opposition of a trademark application may be lodged based on relative grounds for refusal within 60 days of publication of the trademark application.
Thereafter, the parties may be granted, at their joint request, up to 90 working days from the date of notification by the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate of the opposition to the applicant, during which they may seek to reach an amicable settlement.
Answer ... The body which hears oppositions is the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate.
Answer ... Where the opposition is found to be admissible in terms of Maltese trademark law, the following procedure is generally followed.
On receipt of the opposition notice, the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate will examine the opposition for the purposes of admissibility. If the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate finds particular deficiencies, it will inform the opposing party accordingly and invite it to remedy those deficiencies within 10 working days of the date of notification. If the deficiencies are not remedied within this timeframe, the opposition is rejected.
If the opposition is found admissible, the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate will notify the applicant that, within 60 working days of the date of notification, it may:
- withdraw its application;
- restrict the goods and services covered by the application; or
- submit a counterstatement outlining grounds against the opposition.
If the applicant withdraws the application, the proceedings are closed.
If the applicant restricts the goods and services, the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate will invite the opposing party to state, within 10 working days of the date of such invitation, whether it maintains the opposition, and if so, against which of the remaining goods or services the opposition is being maintained. If the opposing party withdraws the opposition in light of the restriction, the opposition proceedings are closed.
If the applicant submits a counterstatement, the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate will notify the opposing party and send it a copy of the counterstatement. The opposing party must then inform the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate in writing, within 20 working days of the date of notification of the counterstatement, whether it is withdrawing or maintaining the opposition. If the opposition is being maintained, the opponent must also submit the prescribed fee and any additional documentation outlining the grounds on which the opposition is being maintained. The Industrial Property Registrations Directorate will then make its decision based on the information and evidence provided by the opposing party and the applicant.
The decision will be communicated to the applicant and to the opposing party.
Answer ... Notice to appeal a decision of the Industrial Property Registrations Directorate must be filed before the Court of Appeal by application within 15 days of service of the decision.