UK Trade Mark Opposition Deadline

The Opposition deadline in the UK is 2 months from the date of the advertisement in the Trade Marks Journal.  Simple enough, one would have thought?

No.  There is a trap for the unwary.

Every other deadline in the IP world that is expressed in terms of a number of months (/days/weeks/years)  works by ending on the day in the relevant subsequent month that has the same date number as the day on which the deadline started from.  Put simply, if you have 2 months starting from the 4th July, your deadline expires on the 4th September and you have until midnight at the end of the 4th September in which to file whatever it is that you need to file.

Except for a UK Trade Mark Opposition.

In a recent Practice Notice, the UK Intellectual Property Office announced that they have looked at the wording of the relevant Rule and have decided that, in this case, the usual interpretation is wrong.  Now, I personally disagree with their interpretation, but this is not the place for that.  What you need to know is:

For UK Trade Mark Oppositions, the deadline is one day before 2 months after the advert.

So, for example, if the advert takes place on the 4th July, then the two month term for Opposition expires on midnight at the end of 3rd September.

If you oppose the application or seek an extension* of the opposition period on 4th September, you will be too late.  You will have to wait for the registration process to complete, and then apply to invalidate the registration.  You will find that the burden of proof has then shifted against you, though.

*a one-month extension of the two-month opposition period is permitted, provided that the extension is applied for in time and in the correct manner.  The extension is personal to the person that asked for it, though, so you will need to name the potential future opponent(s) and will not be able to change this afterwards.
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